Topics:Internet Security Identity Theft 101 Data Breach News Business Security Tax Identity Theft Medical Identity Theft Scams
Identity Management Institute (IMI) is an international organization established to redefine and promote the identity management field, serve identity management professionals, increase identity risk awareness, and provide identity risk management standards, guidelines, certifications, and education. The IMI mission is to provide solutions for evolving identity management challenges in the most creative, effective, and efficient ways. IMI selects volunteers who are CIRM, CRFS, and/or CIPA members to be IMI Advisors, which provide guidance in-line with the IMI mission, objectives, and other operations. IMI advisors promote the highly professional ethics and standards for the identity management field or profession while they address identity theft risks, and educate members on how to best practice identity theft management today. IMI has trained and certified employees from organizations in key industries like financial services, healthcare, insurance, consumer products, government agencies, and consumer services. Identity Management Institute | Available Programs & Certifications Certified Identity Risk Manager | CIRM This certification is made for professional who need to be aware of and manage certain identity risks within business operations and information systems. There are many risks around ID and verification when employees are hired or when customer and business partners engage in business transactions... These potential risks and situations need to be monitored and managed to detect identity fraud and possible criminal activity. Processes like risk assessments and reporting help maintain effective updating for policies and procedures, mitigate identity risks, and to consistently comply with regulations. Some laws pertaining to personal identification, privacy, and fraud prevention may overlap with ID management. Legally companies need to manage these laws effectively, and are required to establish a formal Customer Identification Program or CIP, monitor account activities, and prevent identity fraud. CIRM members of IMI generally work for government agencies and companies worldwide that are committed and responsible for managing identity risks facing their company. Having proper identity risk management through the entire "identity lifecycle" - During hire initiation or ID collection, monitoring, and termination - Ensures a stronger process for effective identification, security and privacy, fraud management, and regulatory compliance. The CIRM certification demonstrates professional capabilities, commitment, and adherence to identity risk management standards. The Identity Management Institute (IMI) administers the Certified Identity Risk Manager or CIRM designation and uses Critical Risk Domains (CRD) and IMI developed standards to maintain the CIRM Program. The CIRM program updates and defines universal ID risks, promotes quality identity risk management practices, and certifies identity risk professionals worldwide. Critical Risk Domains (CRD) - Are developed and used by IMI to define specific area used for training, testing, and certification. Identity Management Institute's CIRM Critical Risk Domains are: Governance & Management - Identity management policies & procedures, training, & resources. Internal Controls - Design, implement, and operate to mitigate risks found through risk assessments. Technology Management - Automate & improve access management and ID validation processes internally & externally. Awareness & Training - Necessary to increase risk awareness and comply with laws. Access Management - Access to buildings, facilities, computer systems, and information provided based on appropriate approval and minimum access rules, ensuring data integrity & confidentiality. Risk Assessment - Allows new threats and solutions to be identified, then managed on a timely basis. Compliance - Must implement programs to comply with applicable State & Federal privacy & security laws such as HIPAA, Red Flags, & GLBA. Auditing & Monitoring - Internal controls assessed for completeness & effectiveness. Detects unauthorized access or transactions, and properly validates, approves, and tracks identity. Communication - Identified risks, decisions, & resolutions are then documented & communicated quickly to the appropriate parties. Incident Management - Quick follow up, validate incident, assess risk level, remediate issue, & formally communicate the conclusion. CIRM | Certification Benefits Validates the professional's education, experience, and skills. International credential helps professionals plan & manage their evolving career. Illustrates member's value & involvement to contribute or grow professional identity risk management. Shows professional interest & experience in effective identity risk management. Gives identity risk management professionals and consumers a way to collaborate and collectively share on ID risks. Educational & Networking Services - Includes blog, online discussion groups, and monthly newsletters - *Accessible from the navigation bar on the IMI website. CIRM | How to Apply? For a CIRM qualification assessment, interested candidates must apply for IMI membership and submit a CIRM application. Candidates that submit a risk statement and demonstrate a combination of education, training, or experience may qualify to become a Certified Identity Risk Manager without an examination. To receive a CIRM application - First become a member of the Identity Management Institute, and then pay a $100 Application Cost. (IMI uses PayPal and other third party credit card processors to receive payments. Candidates may also send a cashier's or company check with their applications by mail.) CIRM | Maintenance - *Certified professionals must earn continuing education, adhere to IMI code of ethics, and be active members to maintain their CIRM Certification. Certified Identity Protection Advisor | CIPA IMI administers the Certified Identity Protection Advisor CIPA professional designation, using their certification standards established by IMI for training and examination. The CIPA certification is to provide strong identity theft protection training and validate identity theft management skills of professionals seeking CIPA. Individuals that become CIPA professionals demonstrate unique knowledge and skills for solving issues facing consumers and businesses. The CIPA program is specifically to educate and certify professionals in the field of consumer identity theft protection. Employees of high-risk organizations such as government agencies, credit bureaus, financial services, insurance, health care, banking, social media, and identity security companies may consider adding a CIPA certification, tax preparers, office organizers, accountants, or others who collect clients personal information, may also be interested in becoming a Certified Identity Protection Advisor. Critical Risk Domains (CRD) - Are developed and used by IMI to define specific area used for training, testing, and certification. Identity Management Institute's CIPA Critical Risk Domains are: Awareness - Aware of identity theft risks, and solutions or best practices. Rights & Obligations - Understand consumer rights and business obligations in accordance to identity theft laws. Credit Cards - Aware of latest threats, while using leveraging strategies to prevent, detect, and resolve credit card fraud. Computers & Internet - Know threats online for desktop and mobile devices, and real threats such as spam, phishing, virus, spyware, social engineering, and related controls needed to manage technology risks. Home & Office - Build consumer risk awareness while strangers approach their surroundings. Take appropriate measures to safeguard their information within the boundaries of their office or home. Travel - Educate best security measures while transporting identity components or documents in public places. Finances - Apply best identity protection practices while consumers manage finances, other financial accounts, or while filing taxes, or maintaining inactive, and multiple accounts. Passcodes - Selected and managed carefully so that they are easy to remember, hard to guess by others, and never easily compromised. Classification & Organization - Documents must be categorized in accordance with confidentiality level for standard organization, safeguard, and for backup or recovery purposes. Detection & Resolution - Follow up, resolve, and quickly identify fraud to stop damage of an ongoing fraud scheme. Fraud detection techniques use tools and skills for monitoring and detecting unauthorized transactions, such as credit reports, account statements, and account activity alerts. Detected and ongoing fraud should be dealt with immediately. Resolution actions may include filing police reports, sending dispute letters, documenting an ID theft affidavit, and a FTC notification or identity reset. CIPA | Certification Benefits Be able to address challenges in identity protection preventing, detecting, and resolving identity theft. Be educated about the latest risks in identity theft, and key controls. Help customers more by increasing knowledge on Identity protection. Build and gain a greater level of trust from a loyal customer base. CIPA | How to Apply? To become a CIPA you must first become an IMI member, apply to take the exam, then use the included study guide to prepare for the exam, take & pass exam to receive CIPA certification. *CIPA Exam will include 100 multiple-choice questions which must be answered online and in just one sitting. Correctly answer 70 questions to pass. After the application process is completed, the CIPA Study Guide will be emailed, and you have one year to study and take the final exam. When you're ready to take the exam, simply inform IMI and the test link along with a pass code will be sent to you. CIPA Candidates will be required to pay a $100 Application Cost through PayPal or another third party credit card processor. Candidates may also send a cashier's or company check with their applications by mail. CIPA Maintenance - *Certified professionals must earn continuing education, adhere to IMI code of ethics, and be active members to maintain their CIPA Certification. Certified Red Flag Specialist | CRFS CRFS is the identity theft prevention certification program registered and developed based on techniques approved by the government and rigorous examination done by the Identity Management Institute (IMI). Professionals can be positioned to help organizations prevent identity fraud to minimize fraud losses, protect customers, and comply with regulations regardless of where or how the personal information of a victim was obtained in committing fraud. Those with a CRFS certification are properly educated and trained to identify, detect and mitigate identity theft red flags. The Identity Management Institute (IMI) is the organization that administers the Certified Red Flag Specialist (CRFS) training and certification process. IMI uses standards closely aligned with the United States Red Flags Rule, which requires businesses and organizations to develop and implement an Identity Theft Prevention Program. Critical Risk Domains (CRD) - Are developed and used by IMI to define specific area used for training, testing, and certification. Identity Management Institute's CRFS Critical Risk Domains are: Regulation - Regulatory requirement fully understood to effectively manage the identity theft risks facing an organization. Program Administration - Specify plans for periodic updates, approved by the board of directors (BOD), a committee of the BOD, or senior management, and address appropriate staff training as well as service provider oversight. Risk Assessment - Completed to identify whether the company is covered and perform subsequent risk assessments necessary to ensure that the program is updated regularly. Red Flags - Develop necessary policies and procedure to prevent, detect, and respond to red flags. Program Management - Program execution, ensures established plans, policies, and procedures are followed to prevent identity theft in action. Also addresses employee training and services provider management. Individuals that contribute to a company's identity fraud prevention or compliance efforts should consider earning the Certified Red Specialist (CRFS) certification. These professionals may include employees, auditors, consultants, and examiners of organizations. Company board members, risk managers, compliance officers, and fraud management experts should also consider getting the CRFS certification. CRFS | Certification Benefits Shows each professional was awarded a leading certification in the identity theft prevention and compliance based on government-approved techniques examined by IMI. Professional understanding in identity theft prevention program management. Able to complete accurate reporting for identity theft prevention & management. Qualified to perform business and service provider risk assessments professionally. Professional can successfully identify, detect, and prevent fraud Red Flags. Trained & ready teach policies, procedures, and offer staff professional training materials related to identity theft prevention. Higher Risk Companies Include: Banks Mortgages & Brokers Finance Companies Investment Firms Insurance Companies Healthcare Providers Automotive Dealers Utility Companies Telecommunications Companies CRFS | How to Apply? The CRFS certification can only be obtained through examination. Interested candidates must become an IMI member, and submit an application for examination. *CRFS Exam will include 100 multiple-choice questions which must be answered online and in just one sitting. Correctly answer 70 questions to pass. The initial cost for the CRFS exam is $295, which includes the study guide. Membership Application fees are $95 for new members. Repeat exams cost $195. Registered candidates receive a PDF study guide and a training video to help study for the CRFS exam. Group training and examination discounts are available onsite for all international locations. Please contact IMI for details. CRFS | Maintenance - *Certified professionals must earn continuing education, adhere to IMI code of ethics, and be active members to maintain their CRFS Certification. Identity Management Institute | IMI Member Features IMI | Certification Certification is an important part of professionalism. A professional certification provides credibility, knowledge, and confidence to win the trust of those who rely on certified experts for guidance and solutions. Knowledgeable identity risk experts are needed to mitigate evolving risks between companies and consumers. IMI | Compliance Programs There are many reasons why a company's compliance program may need to be improved. Usually this is due to lack of planning, process execution, training, and centralized oversight, periodic program updates, enforcement, and monitoring. Identity theft, and fraud risks are growing and prompting governments to introduce news laws that force companies to be proactive in preventing identity fraud. IMI | Education & Training Identity Management Institute offers professional training and certifications specific to manage identity theft and fraud globally. Educating and training employees, customers, and business partners is mandatory by some regulations, and essential for protecting assets and reducing fraud. IMI offers self-study materials, online courses, and group training for their certification programs. The IMI training programs can be customized to meet your needs. Contact IMI for unique identity risk management training needs. *Those that don't already have an identity theft prevention program or process can receive their program certification and accreditations from IMI to validate the development and implementation of an effective identity theft prevention program in accordance with the requirements of the Red Flags Rule.
Smartphones and tablets are in high demand, and so is your personal identifying information. But you can avoid being an easy target for device burglars and identity thieves by installing apps that help counter criminals' attempts to make your life miserable. We've curated a list of 20 apps that can help protect your Android device and information therein from physical theft, app intrusion, password breach, and credit abuse-all completely free. Device Anti-Theft Smart devices are like portable treasure troves for criminals. If you have a nice phone or tablet, you can bet it's a target for criminals, whether it's the actual device they're after, or the emails, contacts, or account numbers inside of it. Luckily, there are apps designed to alarm device owners of possible theft and locate devices if they have been stolen or lost. 1. Prey Anti Theft The Prey app protects up to three devices per account and boasts a long list of anti-theft features. First, you can set your device to trigger a loud alarm remotely, even if your phone volume is set to "silent." It allows you to track and locate a lost or stolen phone on a map using both GPS and WiFi triangulation. You can remotely lock the device, take pictures, display a tailored alert message on the screen, and gather network information being used by your phone's "new" user. The app also has uninstall protection, SMS report activation, and SIM card change detection. 2. AVAST! Anti-Theft AVAST! offers not only computer anti-virus protection but also mobile phone theft protection. The app operates in stealth mode, which hides the app itself from your phone interface to be controlled remotely. With the app, you can track a lost or stolen phone and control several features remotely, such as locking or wiping the memory, taking photos, or listening to audio. 3. Anti Theft Alarm This highly rated alarm system can help prevent your phone from being stolen by thieves, or used by nosy family members or kids trying to access your devices without your consent. The alarm system sounds when phone movement is detected. A loud alarm of your choice sounds even if the phone is in silent mode, the phone vibrates, and the screen flashes bright lights when triggered. Needless to say, unsuspecting thieves will be caught red-handed. 4. Antitheft Droid SMS This anti-theft app does a lot for your peace of mind without affecting battery life or requiring an Internet connection. It includes an anti-theft alarm that must be disabled with a password, remote text message action controls, a locked uninstall option, and location returns based on approximate NET and exact GPS location tracks. 5. Charger Theft This alarm app focuses specifically on protecting your device while it is charging at a free plug point. Users can activate the app when connecting the phone to the charger. When disconnecting the phone to the charger, a passcode is necessary to deactivate the alarm-which sounds at maximum volume, bypassing wired headset or silent mode settings to use the phone speakers. Another perk of this app is that there are no ads. Application Privacy Unless your device is protected, anyone using it temporarily can access your applications. Much more alarming is the fact that the apps you download often have generous permissions to retrieve your personal information. Though app-protecting and information-securing apps aren't foolproof, these ones have worked well for Android users concerned about privacy. 6. PDroid Privacy Protection This amazing app controls access your installed apps have to your private data-regardless of the apps' permissions. You can block access to your device ID, subscriber ID, phone number, incoming and outgoing call numbers, GPS location, list of accounts, contacts, browser history, network information, and more. 7. Advanced Protection AppLock Lock SMS, contacts, Gmail, Facebook, Calls, or any other app you choose-such as double locking a virtual wallet-to keep your app usage to yourself. When you enable this app, no one can kill or uninstall it without your password. 8. Super AppLock Super AppLock not only helps with security, but also makes your app usage more convenient, as users can lock screen brightness or screen rotation for any individual app. Individual apps can be given password or pattern locks, and password options can be set for dialing or receiving calls on your phone. Additionally, you can set certain lock activation hours, protect installed apps, and whitelist your location. 9. Application Protection Similar to the AppLock above, this app protects your device from others a) accidentally changing settings or uninstalling an app (as kids often do) or b) installing malware or other unwanted apps. Additionally, it will send you an email after the wrong passcode has been given ten times. 10. Privacy Master - Free AppLock This app gives the user master privacy power. Only the main user can access apps and data, such as email, gallery, memo, photos, and games. Anonymous un/installations are blocked, as are unknown USB drives and unauthorized task manager access. Password Managers Recent data breaches have set off so-called alarms in the news media all over the world. Passwords, especially, have received unprecedented attention as governments, businesses, and other organizations seek to secure data from threatening bugs. For individual device security, installing a password manager might be a good choice. Check out these apps that specialize in password generation, storage, and protection. 11. Dashlane Password Manager Compatible with Google Authenticator, the Dashlane app keeps track of, encrypts, and stores your different account passwords and other information so it can automatically log you into websites and apps. The app will auto-fill forms with your information as well. Dashlane's security includes a strong password generator, secure password vault, security breach alerts for online accounts, and auto-locks and PIN locks after too much inactivity. The app also includes a secure digital wallet. Not a bad package-and, like all the other apps we mention, it's free! 12. B-Folders Password Manager B-Folders also generates and manages passwords, protecting your accounts from thieves, hackers, and malware. But it also has a secure notes organizer that syncs data across all your devices directly, without any cloud services. Your contacts, credit card info, bank account numbers, tasks, and journal are kept totally secure. Data is encrypted with a government-grade AES cipher and there is an optional self-destruct function. 13. Kaspersky Password Manager This Kaspersky app securely stores and manages passwords for website and app accounts for both Android and iOS devices, and synchronizes those passwords across the mobile devices and your computers. Individual passwords can only be accessed by unlocking the entire system with the master password. Encryption prevents hackers from stealing your passwords and personal information is stored in an identity card for automatic web form completion. 14. Keeper Password & Data Vault Keeper's double-encrypted password and data syncing allows you to protect your passwords as well as share view-only or edit-accessible records with specific groups, such as business teams and family members. The app also comes with a strong password generator in addition to the two-factor authentication system. 15. RoboForm Password Manager The recently updated RoboForm by Siber Systems operates on a one-touch login and form-filler system. The app also offers to save passwords while you are browsing and the browser history has been improved. Users can also set fixed file-deletion options for downloads. Credit Tracking It's always a good idea to keep track of what's going on with your credit. But it's essential if you're concerned about identity theft, as unauthorized credit account use is one of the first ways victims are alerted that there is a problem. These apps are good tools for tracking and protecting your credit from your Android device. 16. LifeLock Wallet App LifeLocks' virtual wallet for both Android and iOS holds much of your vital information as digital copies in one place-insurance cards, ID cards, loyalty and payment cards, receipts and more. That way, you have a backup of all of your cards and can receive credit card transaction and balance updates. If you have any LifeLock subscriptions, you can also access identity protection services through the app, which includes identity fraud alerts and guaranteed professional recovery assistance in the event of identity theft. 17. Credit Sesame Downloading this app is an easy way to view your Experian credit score for free once a month. You can also monitor important changes to your credit report and see how your credit score has changed over time. Being aware of these changes can help alert you to credit and identity theft. 18. Google Wallet App The recently updated Google Wallet lets you carry loyalty offers and programs in one place and email funds to other people securely. Users with a Google Wallet Card can spend their wallet balance online or in stores and even withdraw cast at ATMs. The app comes with 24/7 fraud monitoring and, if your device is lost or stolen, you can disable the app remotely, from anywhere online. 19. Mint.com App Mint gives users perspective in all things financial, and syncs with mobile, tablet, and the web. When you input your personal finance accounts, you can see all transactions, track budgets and cash spending, and get alerts about any unusual activity. The app itself is passcode protected, and if you lose your device you can deactivate device access remotely. 20. Check: Pay bills, credit cards Thousands of Android owners use Check to get reminders about bill due dates or to schedule payments in advance. Users receive alerts when funds are low or credit limits are near. You can manage multiple bank accounts, credit cards, and bills, all within bank-level encryption security and physical security standards. The app is monitored by third party security experts and can be accessed on your device only with your 4-digit PIN.
Identity theft is one of the greatest concerns Americans are expressing in today's society. Internet usage and social media are expanding, consumers are constantly choosing to utilize credit and debit cards for purchases, and tax season is in full swing. With all of these factors adding up, identity theft is on the rise and the IRS and authorities are falling behind when it comes to controlling and preventing these major problems. As a result, many Americans are looking for further help in preventing identity theft and fixing problems that have already occurred. Amazon offers the perfect solution as they offer thousands of books which provide hints, tips, information, and help with identity theft issues. The following list provides the best of these resources available for purchase. Online Security With online purchasing, social media, browsing, and digital entertainment provided to millions of Americans on a daily basis, several people are afraid that their information could be tracked, recorded, stolen, hacked, or used for malignant purposes. Because of this, several authors have written authoritative books on how to reduce digital footprints, avoid malicious sites, and use the internet with a net of safety. The following books are affordable works which are meant to aid individuals who are looking to use the internet in this safe manner. 1. The Online Identity Theft Protection Kit: Stop Scammers, Hackers, and Identity Thieves from Ruining Your Life Author: Atlantic Publishing Company This book is a great read for anyone who is looking to reduce the risks thy face from using the internet and providing personal information such as business information, credit card numbers, or personal data. The book offers a step-by-step process o n how to evaluate and determine potential risks. After this evaluation, readers are helped in creating a prevention plan and fixing problems that could have already caused a potential for identity theft. 2. Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know Author: P.W. Singer This contains anecdotes and illustrated stories which focus on the questions around cyberspace and its security. It looks at how the internet works, why it matters, and what can be done in terms of keeping individuals safe. They use an animated way at looking at malware data breaches, hackers, cyber attacks, and internet problems in order to educate readers on issues and solutions. 3. Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets and Solutions Author: Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray, George Kurtz This gives the latest tactics in avoiding digital attacks. It provides information on how to stop cyber criminals from stealing personal information and gives information on the latest methods hackers are using to gain access to computers and company information. It is also simple enough for the average reader. They focus much on countermeasures and detailed vulnerabilities due to the rising threat in data theft. 4. Protecting Your Internet Identity: Are You Naked Online Author: Ted Claypoole, Theresa M. Payton, Swecker Chris This book is meant to help readers understand what types of security measures are available online in order to see the implications of pitfalls and risks they may be taking on a daily basis. It provides details on online privacy, online images, and tips on how to teach the next generation how to use the internet safely. 5. Password Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Author: Newton Lee This book shows how millions of passwords have already been stolen and collected. It gives easy tricks to creating strong memorable password. It also shows how to deal with security questions and the most effective methods for security against identity theft online. 6. Perfect Passwords: Selection, Protection, Authentication Author: Mark Burnett, Dave Kleiman This book examines and explains how administrations need strong passwords for network safety while users need passwords they can remember. The book offers suggestions and tools on how to create strong passwords, what types of passwords to avoid, and insight on how strong passwords can protect you from an attack or hacking situation. Wireless safety Though computers are a gigantic part of wireless computing, nowadays technology is quite advanced and people can access the internet through various devices. These devices include tablets, iPods, smartphones, and much more. With these new devices there are more chances for people to hack into personal information and data. As such, these next few books offer further information and help on how to protect information and roam securely while using various devices, and by reading these books, individuals may in turn protect themselves from the ultimate pitfall known as identity theft. 7. How to Increase online Security with Smartphones, Tablets, and Computers Author: Howard LaVine This book is designed to help people with cyber safety. It gives simple tips on browsing for all internet devices, online anonymity, and how to choose virus protection software. It further explains how to harden browsers and gives expert advice that could save mobile devices from data collecting malware. 8. 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in the Digital Age: New Financial Threats You Need to Know and How to Avoid Them Author: Steve Weisman The author reveals the threats of identity theft based upon the use of Facebook, iPads, iPhones, Apps, and other technology. It explains why ID theft is more prevalent and shows the newest threats people are facing due to hacking on mobile devices. It provides a step-by-step way to avoid identity theft and protect all mobile internet devices and helps readers minimize the risks of identity theft and fraud. 9. CyberSecurity Safety and Privacy: 60 Vital Tips to Help Protect Your Personal Security, Identity and Privacy Author: Victor R. Stone Recently published, this contains specific tips to reduce data and financial loss, It is and easy use format which will help readers to face the growing threat of hacking and identity theft on mobile devices. Lastly, it provides a self-assessments to help readers understand their current risks. 10. iPhone and iOS Forensics: Investigation, Analysis and Mobile Security for Apple iPhone, iPad and iOS Devices Author: Andrew Hoog, Katie Strzempka This book takes an in-depth look at processes and methods that iPhones and similar devices use to outline new and evolving data and security. It teaches forensic techniques, application and data security, and gives an in-depth analysis of downloaded and default applications. With this aid, those people who own hand help devices will have the information protection in their devices heightened. 11. Raising Digital Families for Dummies Author: Amy Lupold Bair With digital devices on the rise, many parents and people need to catch up with technology in the simplest and quickest forms possible. This book provides such help in an easy to understand form. It covers monitoring software on mobile and computing devices. It provides information to know which sites are trustworthy and which ones should be avoided. Thus, it can help both the young and old from data theft, identity theft issues, and malware on all devices. Fraud Fraud plays a major role in identity theft. Malicious and dishonest people steal information from innocent victims and use this information to create fake account, make false charges, and do whatever they want while the victim will have to pay the price for it all in the end. Many people are looking for information on what fraud is, who commits it, how it can be prevented, and what damage can be done with stolen identities. These books provide such information and help to those people. 12. Fraud Examination-Third Edition Author: W. Steve Albrecht, Conan C. Albrecht, Chad O. Albrecht, Mark F. Zimbelman This book provides all the information needed for those people who are trying to understand everything from what fraud is and its prevalence today. Having been written by a renowned professor, this book explains forensics, legal options, basics, and much more which can be used in education or personal settings as it provides a complete coverage of ideas and technology experience. 13. Healthcare Fraud: Auditing and Detection Author: Rebecca S. Busch This describes the high volume of money which is wasted each day on fraudulent healthcare charges and identities. This book will help people to spot the "red flags" of fraudulent activity within health organizations and also provides the necessary skills to deal with detected fraud. It provides insight to several perspectives and groups and gives an outline for protection and prevention against fraud. 14. The Art of the Steal: How to protect Yourself and Your Business From Fraud, America's #1 Crime Author: Frank W. Abagnale This provides a look into real fraudulent events and tips on how they can be prevented. Cyberspace has skyrocketed the amount of ways to steal data and commit crimes, and with such information on the loose, this book provides that information needed to keep readers safe and also provides real stories to back up the ideas presented. Identity Theft Protection Identity theft is a growing issue for many Americans and with data breaches and hacking on the rise, people need to know how to protect themselves. Nowadays, even children are at risk so parents and caregivers need to understand who is trying to steal identities and what can be done to stop such illegal activity. The following books provide a range of information on how to prevent and fortify readers against identity theft. 15. Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Author: Frank W. Abagnale This book brings real insight to the world of identity theft and personal data reaches. The book discusses several forms of hacking and data collecting along with physical stealing and information gathering. Along with tips on how information is stolen, the book is filled with tips and tricks to help people avoid identity theft based upon current issues and experience. 16. Bankrupt at Birth: Why Child Identity Theft Is On The Rise & How It's Happening Under Parents' Noses Author: Joe Mason This book outlines the problem of child identity theft and offers parents practical advice on how to protect their children. It goes on to identify who the perpetrators are, why child social security numbers are the most vulnerable, and explains the risks children are facing which make them more susceptible to identity theft. The book then provides the three critical steps involved in securing child identities. 17. Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know Author: Robert P. Chappell Jr. Over 200,000 children under age 6 are affected by identity theft every year, and because of this, many parents will want to read this book. Here, a veteran law enforcement official and child identity theft expert offers information on vulnerabilities children have for identity theft. It explains loopholes and techniques used and then offers many pointers and advice on how to prevent identity theft and measures that can help fix current problems. 18. Privacy Means Profit: Prevent Identity Theft and Secure You and Your Bottom Line Author: John Sileo Here readers can learn about the risks of social media, travel theft workplace identity theft, and more. It provides ways to accumulate privacy, eliminate risk, lock assets, and monitor signs of identity theft. This book is meant to create a bulletproof shield for individuals and businesses from identity theft. 19. 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Your Credit: Everything You Need to Know About Identity Theft, Credit Cards, Credit Repair, and Credit Reports Author: Steve Weisman Having been written by someone who faced identity theft years earlier, this book offers first hand experiences to show steps and strategies to avoid identity theft. It defines rules, checklists, and scams while providing easy-to-use forms that can be used in cases where an individual is already facing identity theft or issues pertaining to the matter. 20. Dragnet Nation: A Quest For Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance Author: Julia Angwin This book explains who is watching, how they are watching, and why they want to. It shows how government agencies, individuals, and groups steal personal data. It explains the struggle involved in trying to avoid these surveillances and how it can easily be internalized as normal, wherein information is taken and it goes unnoticed. Miscellaneous Data breaches, credit fraud, and other forms of identity theft are on the rise and there is no end in sight. The IRS cannot keep up with demands, people a re becoming more and more frustrated every day, and authorities have not made enough headway to make the public feel safe. As such, these next few articles will give information on recent crisis along with various pieces of information that can help readers understand and prevent these various forms of identity theft. 21. Target Data Breach: 10 Steps to Protect Your Credit & Your Identity Author: Danni P. Lipton Millions of people were effected by the recent breach at Target in 2013 and though credit card companies have taken precautions, this book offers more tips and help to those who had their personal information stolen during the breach. Even people who were not effected have found this book to be a great help in protecting themselves in case of another situation like this. 22. The Credit Repair Black Book: Credit Repair Secrets and Strategies the Credit Bureaus Won't Tell You Author: Mark Kennedy In cases where people are already facing problems from identity theft, this book will help to build up credit scores once again. It provides tips and information on how to build credit wherein credit bureaus could not give this type of advice. It is perfect for those victims who have had financial damages made and need extra help. 23. Credit Repair Kit for Dummies Author: Steve Bucci Several of the books labels "for dummies" actually provide the simplest and easiest rules, regulations, and steps to follow in order to achieve a certain goal. This book is no exception since it provides information on IRS rules and management for credit issues, credit score aid, tips, and much more. Along with the book, they provide links to various online forms and resources to help people who have been victimized by identity theft to help them in regaining a manageable credit score. 24. How to Survive Your Financial Crisis (ID Theft Averted ~ Practical Help for Unemployed & Self - Employed ~ Government Assistance for You & Special Children) Author: Vivian Gaspar This book is written by 28 experts on 38 various topics to help readers with several problems and results of a financial crisis. It provides information on identity theft problems and how they can ruin credit and financial bases that individuals have worked so hard to maintain. It also provides solutions to these financial problems and help in finding further information if needed. 25. The Con: How Scams Work, Why You're Vulnerable, and How to Protect Yourself Author: James Munton, Jelita McLeod Since Americans are 40 times more likely to be defrauded than have their homes robbed, identity theft is ruining a major amount of lives. This is why the book is essential in gaining control back and combating fraud. IT teaches the basics of scams and fraud. It gives steps needed to take action and fight hackers and thieves. It goes behind the scenes and gives understandable and important information to keep people safe in multiple scam situations.
With technology booming and companies growing, identity theft is unavoidably on the rise as well. Including malicious hacking, careless companies, and sub-par security standards being used, people are now in more danger than ever before in terms of facing identity theft and fraud. This article portrays an overview of the effects of careless mistakes and major issues that have been arising throughout 2013 in a basic infographic form to notify and warn the public of what problems they may face and what preventative measures should be taken. Statistics Statistics play a major role in understanding identity theft, fraud, and the effects of data breaches. The information allows companies, individuals, and national groups to understand where major issues are growing or decreasing. Such information allows these groups or individuals to focus their efforts on areas that need more work and understanding while also providing an assurance on whether or not past actions have created improvements or not. Constant updates on data are needed to keep up with the overflow of issues arising on a daily basis. 1. Identity Theft by the Numbers Here is a Jackson Hewitt statistical graphic depicting the various issues of identity theft and preventative measures which should be taken. Data covers the number of people effected, fraudulent claims, tax thefts, complaints, and more. Preventative measures include a list of tips that would help the typical American when facing this type of danger. 2. Identity Theft: Why You Should be Worried This report shows the effects of identity theft for individuals and households, while depicting the specific financial and time loss issues faced by these effected people. It is covered by several graphs and charts to give readers a visual understanding of statistical data and the importance of information being shared. 3. Identity Theft Statistics This is a chart of statistics regarding the effects of identity theft on victims, the methods used, expenses, and recovery issues. Issues are separated into various subcategories to explain the information while depicting specific data to show changes and updates that are crucial to understanding identity theft and its effects. 4. Data Breaches in 2013 This site maintains a record of the number of breaches, percent increases, locations, and main culprits of identity theft attacks. It explains that there has ben a 30% increase in the number of attacks reported in comparison to the previous year. It then goes on to explain where these attacks are reported from. 5. Identity Fraud Rates Increased in 2013 This column contains data regarding fraud rates, stolen money declined, online fraud, and various breaches. It shows that fraud has grown 44% while financial loss exceeds $18 billion. With these dramatic increases, data is used to amplify the idea that precautions need to be taken in order to deflate such major issues. 6. Mobile Identity Theft a Growing Threat This is a blog specifying the use and rise of mobile devices which in turn in increasing the number of mobile identity theft cases. It explains that mobile devices are being used increasingly every day for daily tasks and the number is expected to double within a year. This means that users must be extremely cautious when using the device and need to take specific precautionary measures to maintain their anonymity. 7. Infographic: Identity Fraud Hit 1 Victim Every 3 Seconds in 2012 This is an excerpt explaining the statistical effects of identity fraud and how they are detected. It shows data claiming that over 13 million Americans faced fraud in 2012 alone. Data breaches continue to play a major role in fraud cases and as such they offer tips on how to avoid situations, which may turn you into a victim. 8. Identity Theft in View This is a visual resource depicting complaints, cyber security survey results, and types of identity theft. It claims that identity theft has been the number one security complaint for over 11 years and though many measures are being taken, there is much more work to do. Individuals need to make many more changes in order to stay safe. Online Protection Though many identity theft issues arise from physical paperwork and mail, the online world is known for leaving ital. trail of information about users. This leads to many problems regarding data breaches, trailed digital footprints, and stolen information. With hacking on the rise, people are constantly at risk when using online resources, shopping, and providing digital information about themselves. As such, the following resources provide a list of precautionary measures to be taken, and places to avoid in the digital world. 9. How to Protect yourself Against Identity Theft Online This is a source that provides tips to protecting user identity including password tips, cautionary sharing measures, and scams to look out for. The site offers a list of passwords that are often used, ways to find reliable identity theft security companies, and several tips on what types of scams are most prevalent. 10. International Internet Scam Hotspots This is a publication depicting where scams originate, hotspots, complaints, and dollar amounts lost to those who fall victim of scamming. Several types of scams are reported including fraud, spam, credit card fraud, and computer crimes. Internet schemes depicted include phishing, investment fraud, and debt elimination schemes. Lastly are preventative measures shown to avoid all of these problems. 11. 76% Say WiFi Can Lead to Identity Theft This site provides the ultimate guide to staying safe on public WiFi. The site shows that the majority of people who use public WiFi chose to do so because of the fact that it is free. However, surfing the web can be dangerous and can give hackers free access to personal information from social media, online banking, or other personal venues. The site therefore provides three basic tips to keeping users safe while using these free hotspots. 12. How to Protect Identity on the Web This Symantec site teaches about identity theft risk and tips about how to a avoid being the next victim. It provides information on WiFi issues, credit card scams, email phishing schemes, password issues, and tax scams. It continues by reporting which states have the most problems with identity theft and which sites put users into danger. 13. Hacking Lessons Learned: How to Cover Your Digital Ass This VB security news excerpt helps users to prevent digital chaos by showing who hackers are and what they intend to do with the information. It then offers aid and tips in how to avoid the issues by having strong passwords, lying on personal questions, and providing fake information that will not get you caught in a web of trouble. 14. TMI Much This McAfee poster shows that many websites are asking for too much personal information, which makes it easier for hackers to steal identities from online users. It teaches that people need to be careful about what information they allow people to see, who they connect with, and what types of things they buy online. 15. The Stupidest Things You Are Doing To Put Your Identity at Risk This infographic pokes fun at how foolish people can be when providing information online as an attempt to make people think twice about the information they share and ask for while online. It shows that websites and emails are not as reliable as many people would think and therefore users need to be careful when opening unknown information and making personal information public. 16. The Internet Knows More About You Than You Think This Huffington Post article shows that the internet keeps more information public than people think. It reports how easy it is for people to steal user identities with the basic information such as name, date of birth, address, and mother's maiden name. If they receive more vital information then hacking just becomes easier. Therefore, users must keep this type of information private or use fake information when online. Social Media Social Media has grown in popularity among both the old and young online. It is a place where people can interact and have digital social contact. However, with the rise in social media, many hackers and people with malicious intent have had free reign over individuals who willingly give up information and personal data. As such, these websites have become a breeding ground for illegal and fraudulent activities, as these next few articles will reveal to a greater extent. 17. Visualizing Social Media This detailed graphic provides visual updates and changes that help individuals understand what social media is, how it works, what changes have ben made over time, and what types of information people freely give up to hackers. It backtracks through ten years of information and shows how social media has revolutionized the digital world. 18. Oversharing on Social Media common Amongst 50+ This McAfee sponsored blog depicts how seniors and elderly people are trying to connect more often online, but they are much more trusting than the younger generations when providing personal data, which makes them more vulnerable to attacks and fraud. It provides bothersome data which shows the elderly are at a much higher risk due to certain activities and information they use. 19. The Sad State of Social Media Privacy This shows how people should rarely trust online companies and people who ask for information. It is saying that people want to know what information is being used or taken from their online activity, and yet at the same time individuals have less and less control over what is being taken and use online. 20. Identity Theft on Social Media: Are You at Risk This article claims that certain states put you at more risk when using social media. It claims that California, Georgia, and Florida are the highest risk states. It shows how identity thieves steal information from social media and what measures could help you to prevent identity theft. Safety Tips With identity theft on the rise, many more people are interested in how to prevent the problem from occurring to them. There are several people who do not know even the basics of how to protect their identity, or why people would want to steal their information in the first place. It is because of these types of interest that several companies and groups have created images with the specific intent of educating the public with tips and tricks in precautionary measures as will be shown in the next few articles. 21. The Ultimate Guide to Prevent Hacking This excerpt shows preventative measures, which can be taken to stop hacking. It shows a hacking checklist, methods of entry, websites, detection, and defenses. It offers information on how to see hacking before it happens and how to stop it from happening to individuals or people with computing devices. 22. How to Recover From Losing Your Wallet When something physically is taken or lost, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent identity theft as this site shows. This excerpt provides a step-by-step process to go through to secure information and report it to the proper authorities before anyone can o more damage. 23. Easy Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft This visual piece depicts the 8 surprisingly dangerous items any people keep in their wallets. Items include social security cards, password cheat sheets, keys, checks, passport, multiple credit cards, receipts, and birth certificates. As such, one in ten Americans face identity theft. The list merges then into preventative tips. 24. College Life: Easy Target for Identity Theft This Pinterest photo shows why college students are at a higher risk for identity theft. This may include having grades posted by social security numbers, applying for credit cards, or other factors. However, overall, there are many tips and tricks to the trade when it comes to keeping college students safe from identity theft. 25. Identity Theft Protection 101: Who is Spying on You This image shows how there are various privacy threats in various areas where people commonly surf the internet. This may include home access sites, free WiFi locations, work computers and adware threats. After viewing each of these privacy threats, the image continues to report small and simple ways in which people can prevent security issues that could lead to identity theft. 26. Wrestling Online Privacy This site shows that there are several places in which malicious hackers intend to find personal information that they can use to steal identities. Some of these sites include social media and public sites. It depicts the problem that identity theft is outpacing the regulations which are meant to protect the public. As this is a major issue, the site then focuses on the issue of educating people about how to prevent fraud and how to use the internet safely. 27. Identity Theft: Protect Yourself Guide This guide is a step-by-step process which is meant to aid individuals in preventing identity theft. It states that users must not over share, they must use secure passwords, and they must limit their fingerprint both in the digital and physical world where people can gain access to information. How Information is Stolen and What Happens Next Along with tips and Tricks, individuals are in desperate need to understand how information can be stolen, and what the purpose of data breaches really is. These articles attempt to show how easy it is to steal information when people are lazy in terms of precautionary measures as well as when they search the internet for concealed or freely given information. As long as people understand that hackers with malicious intent are actively searching to steal identities, then they may be more likely to take caution when dealing with personal information. 28. Meet the Crooks Behind Identity Theft This site intends to inform readers about who is stealing information ad what they intend to do with the information they have taken. It depicts perpetrators, the rise of identity theft crimes, the misuse of information and how people intend to fight back against these hackers to stop their malicious work. 29. Data Breach: What Happens Next? This Pinterest picture shows what fraudulent individuals intend to do with information they steal. It includes showing how they steal information, sell it to the highest bidder, create fraud issues, and convert their work into cash while issues continue to arise for the victims. It is a simple process that causes major problems for victims. 30. The Amazing Story of Identity Theft This comic takes a more creative approach to educating people on how hackers and thieves get personal information and how they use it to cause chaos for victims. The comic shows several different, yet simple, scenarios in which information is stolen. Though using an artistic approach, the comic shows real-life issues with major problems that could arise. 31. The Grinch Who Stole Data This Pinterest picture shows how data breaches are much more prevalent during times when people are using credit cards and personal information online more, such as in seasonal shopping. The picture continues to explain the threat action types, the number of data breaches that occurred at intervals of time, and the most targeted groups. 32. Passwords are Not Enough This column shows the user data breaches due to no two-factor authentication. It shows the most common passwords, sites that have had the most users, which can cause high numbers of identity theft, and much more. It warns people to be more cautious if they want to avoid becoming the next headline. 33. Worst Passwords of 2013 This photo shows the ten worst passwords of 2013. It shows that a large scale of individuals are not taking the time to create passwords that are harder to guess or figure out and therefore hackers are being given a free pass into personal information sites and vital records. Categorized Breaches In looking at identity theft and major breaches, it is much easier to understand the effects on customers and people when the data is categorized to address a specific audience. This may include medical breaches, state statistics, or even information about certain companies or groups. The following sites provide such reports for people with specific interests to get the information needed. 34. Worldʻs Biggest Data Breaches This site provides information on hundreds of companies who have had losses o over 30,000 records. Researchers can click on any one company to receive information on information lost and details about the company in itself. This way, victims can find specific information for their needs. 35. Top Cities Where Identity Theft is Most Common This Security Watch article shows the amount of Americans who face identity theft each year. It details specific threats to each state and which states have the most identity theft cases reported. It shows risks people have in each state and what can be one to avoid issues. 36. The High Costs of Medical Identity Theft As shown in this article, medical identity theft affects all states in America, but this image rates the states from best to worst. It claims Iowa is the best in keeping medical records safe while California is the worst. It also shows that personal expenses due to identity theft exceed $22,000 for victims. 37. Healthcare Fraud Medical Identity Theft This image shows that inaccurate patient identification information is costing both the public and healthcare funds. It shows that 1.5 million Americans are facing identity theft each year and because of that many people are using those identities to create false medical records. Medical theft is the fastest growing form of identity theft in the nation and it is also causing health fraud, which in turn is costing huge amounts of money to companies and the public. 38. A Snapshot on Health Breaches This snapshot shows the number of confirmed breaches since 2009 up until present day. It names three major forms of breaches and shows devices that have the most security issues. After al of that information, it gives ten quick tips for safety precautions that anyone can use to stay safe. Credit Card and Tax Season Help Two of the weightiest issues when it comes to identity theft are those regarding credit cards and tax season issues because these types of threats involve vital information used such as social security number and financial information. When a hacker gets into vital information such as this, they can create fraudulent charges that will financially drain you and make future financial investments harder to reach, as these next few articles will define. 39. Tips for Keeping Your Identity Safe During Tax Season This seasonal poster shows a list of annual scams the IRS has found that peaks during tax season. This includes doubles of information like w-2ʻs, bogus websites, and phishing scams. It also shows how thieves find and steal information. Then it continues on with tips on how to be seasonally safe to avoid scams and guarantee your money is sent to the right person. Otherwise, it explains how to report issues to the IRS. 40. Keeping Your Identity Safe During Tax Season This Pinterest image shows the number of tax returns made, the number of identity theft issues reported, and the amount lost in fraudulent cases, along with other information. It reports on about the IRS annual scam list and basic things you should and should not be doing with paperwork and vital information which becomes available during the tax season. 41. The Happy Holiday 2013 Shopping Guide This seasonal poster shows individuals how to enjoy the holidays while keeping their identity in tact. It shows how important the shopping season is for the economy and how many people will be spending money during this season. As a result it shows how to be cautious when shopping and enjoying the season. 42. Credit Card Fraud an the 5 Biggest Heists This article shows the 5 greatest heists in credit card history. It shows the TJX heist, Citibank heist, Western hotel Heist, -11 heist, and the card system heist. It gives information on who victims were and the extent of the damage. It is meant to show people how much damage can be done when malicious individuals gain credit card information because they can make purchases which have huge financial costs to the victims. 43. The IRS Burdens Identity Theft Victims This post shows how the IRS is failing to keep up with the identity theft crisis in America, which causes a huge burden for victims. They cannot keep up with the constant demand and issues arising. They have created over 21 groups to deal with issues but it takes a minimum of 6 months to start the process and it costs thousands of dollars, which shows that identity theft is a major problem being faced today. Miscellaneous Though many identity theft images can be categorized, there are several important images which address various issues that face Americans today and these images will be described hereafter. These include child identification problems, facts about identity theft, various company informational excerpts, and much more. Though small, these images show a major impact identity theft has on Americans today. 44. Child Identity Theft This image shows how important a child's identity is, and how detrimental it can be if a hacker steals their identity at a young age. It shows laws that put parents in charge of keeping identities safe and the problems they face if something goes wrong. It also show that there is a pull between reporting the issues and dealing with it alone due to the laws that cause people to think twice before asking for help. 45. How Much is a Child's Identity Worth This image shows that children are at a much higher risk for identity theft than adults. It shows the number of reports being filed yearly, and the financial effect that it has on families. With this shown, it then reports on warning signs and quick tips parents may want to know to keep their children safe from identity theft. 46. SSN Use in Schools This image warns that children are being put at risk when institutions such as schools gain access to Social Security Numbers. Many schools have sub-par security standards and use SSN that can be stolen easily by hackers. Also, institutions may keep vital information indefinitely which means that even when an individual grows up, they are still at risk of losing vital information. 47. Ten Facts About ID Theft This article is meant to inform readers on what identity theft really is. It explains where the highest dangers are, who is at risk, and depicts other statistical information that explains who is victimized and why. Information like this can be used to inform readers on basic information wherein they can research further to find specific help and details which thy find to be true or interesting. 48. Data Breaches Lead to Identity Fraud This article breaks down information about data breaches and identity theft to make it easier to comprehend. It shows how many breaches there were in a specified year and how that breaks down on a daily basis. It continues to use this information to give recommendations on what is safest and what breaches may mean for victims. 49. 5 Common Signs of Identity Theft This list aims to inform readers about the five signs that they have had their identity stolen. It explains that there may be lost mail, calls about unknown loans, credit or bank errors, credit report problems, and medical records that show problems you do not have. All of these signs can inform a person that they are already at risk so by noticing these issues, people can get a hold of their identity before someone else causes irreversible damages. 50. Calling All Privacy Plumbers This image shows that date breaches are happening more often as time continues. It shows the number of breaches on a daily basis and depicts that many breaches are being found through malware, stolen computers, and software malfunctions. Different industries are being hit at various levels, but the major problem is that all of the breaches are increasing in number and in magnitude.
It happened without warning in the middle of another busy holiday shopping season. On December 19, 2013, retail giant Target broke the news that a data breach had occurred at their stores between November 27 and December 15. Their initial estimate was that up to 40 million customer records had been compromised, pulling customer names, credit card numbers, expiration dates, card verification values, mailing addresses, and email addresses from nearly every debit and credit used at Target during the holiday shopping season. Weeks later, they changed that estimate to 70 million. In the wake of this debacle, Target is assuring all affected customers that they will cover any charges the identity thieves made on their payment cards. In addition, they're even giving customers free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for a year. The Target data breach of 2013 is only the latest of many large data breaches that have occurred in recent months, but it is a perfect illustration of how quickly, and unexpectedly, data breaches can hit you. This article will help you understand what a data breach is, how to know if you've been a victim of a data breach, and what steps you can take if a data breach affects you. What is a data breach? When you first hear about a data breach in the news, you might be a little confused. What is a data breach, anyway? How does a data breach happen? Unless you're an IT professional, it might be a little difficult to understand how identity thieves could take your personal information from a company or the government just from their computers. Wikipedia describes a data breach this way: "A data breach is the intentional or unintentional release of secure information to an untrusted environment." Usually, companies or government agencies keep your personal information securely stowed away in databases and computer files that can only be accessed by authorized personnel. This is where you hope your personal information will stay. But data breaches, intentional or accidental, take your personal information out of those safe, secure place and into the hands of identity thieves. Here are the most common ways they occur: Computer Hackers In many data breaches, Identity thieves use their computer savvy to find virtual back doors or loopholes in computer systems and grab as much information as they can before anyone notices. Often, these hackers are supported by organized crime or even governments. Compromised Employees Sadly, the source of a data breach is sometimes a person who actually works for the organization that's affected. A disgruntled employee might knowingly take files out of secure databases and give them to identity thieves, usually for a fee. Clumsy Disposal As organizations get rid of old files or equipment, they sometimes fail to remove all the important information from them prior to disposal. In these cases, dumpster-diving identity thieves sifting through the disposed items can find a treasure trove of personal information. As you can probably tell at this point, data breaches happen largely outside of your (the customer's) reach. They happen largely between organizations and identity thieves. So what is an ordinary customer like you to do? The best thing you can do is know how to recognize it as quickly as possible. How do I know if I've been the victim of a data breach? Some data breaches can take weeks for companies to discover, as in the case of the 2013 Target data breach. But you want to know if you've been a victim of a data breach as soon as possible so you can take steps to protect your accounts. Here are some signs that you want to look for: You might see unauthorized transactions on your payment cards. This is the first sign that you've been a victim of a data breach. But don't expect to see huge amounts to be taken out right away. Often, identity thieves will test out your account with small amounts-small enough that you might gloss over them if you weren't paying attention-before going big. Note: this doesn't guarantee that you've been hit by a data breach-it could just be your typical identity theft. But you want to be on alert and start locking down your accounts, regardless. A company that you're customer or employee of announces they've had a data breach. Keep in mind, this isn't a sure sign that you were part of the data breach, but it does mean you're at risk. You're informed by the company that your personal information was part of a data breach. After the Target data breach, emails were sent out to all the affected customers giving them directions on what to do next and assure them that the company was taking steps to remedy the problem. Most companies will do the same to save face and limit the damage that has been done. What should I do if I've become a victim of a data breach? If these signs rear their ugly heads, you need to know how to react. The good news is, since data breaches happened under the company's or government's watch, they usually take responsibility for any losses incurred and lead the charge in fixing the problem. Of course, you still want to watch your own back to protect your accounts. Here are the best steps to take once you know you've become a data breach victim: 1. Contact the company The party that's really in charge of figuring out how to fix a data breach is the company or government branch that suffered the data breach in the first place. Reach out to them to figure out how extensive the damage was, what they're doing to repair it, and what you should do in the meantime. 2. Get the details In order to start safeguarding your identity following a data breach, you need to know exactly what information thieves got their hands on. You might not need to worry so much if only got your name and mailing address. If they stole your SSN and credit card information, it's time to start calling the credit bureaus and file a police report. The company that suffered the data breach should be able to tell you this vital information. 3. Change your passwords right away If the company tells you that your stolen information was encrypted and, therefore, safe inaccessible by the identity thieves, take it with a grain of salt. If you're password was less than eight characters long or used common words, there's a really good chance that thieves have already broken in. So, instead of blindly trusting the company, cover your rear by changing your affected password immediately. Make your new password one that you haven't used previously on other accounts. 4. Let your bank and credit card companies know There are a number of really good reasons for doing this. First, by bringing your bank and other companies into the loop, they will understand that you haven't just gone off the reservation with your finances and can lock down your account against future attacks. Second, many banks and credit card companies will actually excuse you from any financial liability caused by data breaches. We can't stress enough here how important it is to talk to your bank immediately. When dealing with identity thieves, a few minutes can be the difference between losing a dollar or losing everything in your checking account. 5. File a police report For your protection against excessive financial liability, you need to file a report with your local police department as soon as possible. This makes your status as an identity theft victim official. It also creates an official document for you to show the credit bureaus to lock down any activity around your identity. 6. Place a fraud alert on your name With your police report in hand, call one of the three major national credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your name. This way, if identity thieves try to do anything under your name, they will be alerted. For your convenience, here are the names and numbers of the three major credit bureaus: Transunion: (800) 680-7289 Equifax: (800) 525-6285 Experian: (888) 397-3742 7. Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service Once your personal information is in the possession of identity thieves, they will continue to keep trying to use it to break into your accounts. This can keep up for months after a data breach. For this reason, you might consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service like LifeLock or Trusted ID. These services will cost you anywhere between $9 and $20 per month, but they will flag any suspicious activity that occurs on your accounts. 8. Create an identity theft affidavit with the FTC While you already have a police report in hand, you'll also want to contact the Federal Trade Commission to build an identity theft affidavit. This affidavit will help you assemble the facts about your case-when the identity theft happened, which accounts were affected, etc.-and get them dated, signed, and notarized. This provides a credible document that you can show to credit card companies, banks, and any other companies you need to in order the fix the damage caused by a data breach. 9. Document everything Until your name is cleared, it is imperative that you record every communication you have. If you call Transunion to place fraud alert, make a record of that call. If identity thieves make a purchase using your bank account, write down when it happen and how much it was. You might choose to use a contact log or a calendar to accomplish this. Fortunately, while a data breach is not your fault, it's good to know that companies will usually do all they can to minimize the damage to you and that there are steps you can take to protect your accounts. By acting immediately after, you can minimize or eliminate the negative impact of a data breach on your life.
Sometimes, despite even the best identity theft protection and the best preparation on your part, identity theft happens. The key to minimizing the damage that identity thieves can do to your finances and your records is to detect their crime early and take action immediately. This article will give you some of the most common signs that you've been a victim of identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other identity theft protection authorities. By looking for these giveaways, you'll be more likely to put a stop to identity thieves' activities before they do irreparable damage to your life. Signs You're At Risk Sometimes you know that your personal information could be in trouble. In these instances, the personal documents or cards you should have are no longer in your possession and there is strong evidence that someone has taken them or they've been accidentally left in a vulnerable location. Unfortunately, if your personal documents are missing, there's a strong possibility that identity thieves could be involved. These are some of the most common signs that you're at risk of identity theft: Missing wallet or purse Missing documents or cards Break in at your house or where you keep your personal documents Tampering with your mail If any of these happen to you, don't sit around and wait to see if thieves actually use your information against you. Be proactive and start contacting the right parties to protect your accounts and records and block identity thieves before they can do too much damage. If any of the other signs have reared their ugly heads in your life, proceed to our article "What to Do If You Suspect You're a Victim of Identity Theft?" Signs You're a Victim of Identity Theft Unfortunately, being a victim of identity theft isn't always as plain as having your wallet stolen or having someone ransack your filing cabinet. Often, you don't even suspect something's wrong until identity thieves have already struck and the results of their actions start showing up in your accounts or records. Based on the FTC website on identity theft protection and other identity theft experts, these are the 15 most common signs that identity thieves have begun using your personal information for their own nefarious purposes: 1. Unexplained Withdrawals If identity thieves have their hands on your debit card or bank account number, you might see money disappearing from your bank accounts. These might be cash withdrawals, money transfers to unknown accounts, or purchases at places you know you didn't visit. In the case where ID thieves take your card on a shopping spree, you'll see alarming amounts of money spent in a short period of time. 2. Missing Mail When you stop getting bank or credit statements for months at a time, it's a strong sign that someone might be redirecting your mail. Identity thieves are fond of submitting "change of address" forms at your local post office to have your mail sent directly to them. When basic bills and statements you know you should be getting stop showing up in your mailbox, it's time to start checking your accounts and records. 3. Unexpected Mail When identity thieves start opening accounts in your name or changing your address, sometimes you get mail that you weren't expecting. According to the U.S. News, this can be just a notice from the post office that your mail is being forwarded to another address without you having requested it. Another common one is receiving letters about accounts you never opened. 4. Bouncing Checks In what might be the most embarrassing symptom of identity theft, you pay by check or with a card only to have it declined due to insufficient funds. But it's not your fault. Identity thieves have drained your account, and the money you thought would be there is now gone. 5. Debt Collectors Contacting You For Debts You Didn't Incur No one wants to deal with debt collectors, but it's somehow even worse when the charge their collecting on is a complete mystery to you. You get the double displeasure of 1) having to talk to a debt collector, who won't believe a word you say, while 2) having that terrible realization in the pit of your stomach that someone is racking up debt in your name. 6. Accounts or Charges in Your Credit Report You Didn't Incur Looking at your credit reports regularly is one highly recommended way to monitor for any identity theft against you. Sometimes, this practice will reveal accounts you never set up or purchases you never made. If your credit report shows that someone used your credit card to take a two-week vacation in Rome while you were working in Poughkeepsie, for example, you need to take action immediately. 7. Medical Bills For Services You Never Used Remember how identity thieves can use your Social Security Number or insurance information to get medical care in your name? The evidence of these identity theft attacks will show up in your mailbox with doctors or hospitals demanding that you pay up. They can also show up on your medical records. 8. Denied Application Because of Your Credit One of the biggest impacts of identity theft is the damage it does to your credit score. Despite all your best efforts to make your payments regularly and pay down your balances, identity thieves can ruin your credit. If you haven't been checking your credit report regularly, you won't know your credit score is bad until you try to apply for a new line of credit, a home loan, etc. 9. Insurance Rejects Your Legitimate Claim Because Records Show You've Reached Benefits Limits (Even Though You Haven't) This is the bounced check of the insurance world. Just when you need medical treatment, just when you're ready to cash in on that insurance you've been paying for, your claim is denied on the grounds that, according to their records, you've maxed out all your benefits. Keep in mind: this is a sign of identity theft only if you're absolutely sure that you haven't actually reached your insurance benefit limit. Make sure you double-check your own records before hurling any accusations of identity theft. 10. Health Plan Refuses to Cover You Because Your Medical Records Say You Have a Condition You Know You Don't Have The Affordable Care Act, in theory, is supposed to do away with insurance companies refusing coverage based on pre-existing health conditions. If you have been turned down for health insurance in the past, however, because of a health condition you know you never had, you should still take steps to secure your identity and clear up your medical records. 11. IRS Says They Have More than One Tax Return Filed In Your Name Maybe you look forward to that nice tax return check every year. Identity thieves look forward to your check, too. If you get a notification from the IRS that you filed two tax returns, little red flags should go off in your head. Someone is trying to cash in on your taxes. 12. IRS Says You Have Income From an Employer You've Never Worked For This might be one of the only ways to detect employment fraud, in which identity thieves use your name and Social Security Number to apply for jobs. Not knowing that someone else is working under your name, you naturally fail to report their income in your tax return. The IRS notifies you, thinking that you just forgot to mention it. At that point, there's a strong possibility that you've been hit by employment fraud. 13. Notice That There's Been a Data Breach at a Company Where You Have an Account or Do Business These are becoming more and more common. Banks. Sony Playstation. The U.S. Government. All of these places and more have been hacked over the last few years and the personal information of users has been taken. When this happens, these organizations will send notifications out to those they think have been affected, telling them they need to update their login information to protect their accounts. If you get one of these notifications, it means your personal information, including Social Security Number, driver's licence number, or bank account information, could be in the hands of identity thieves. One caveat: not all of these notifications are real. Fake notifications can be used in phishing attacks. 14. Warrant for Your Arrest It could happen during a traffic stop. The officer takes your license and registration and comes back to inform you that you have an outstanding warrant. If this is news to you, there's a high probability that an identity thief has committed a crime and then used your personal information while being booked for that crime. 15. Errors in Your Social Security Account This is another version of the scenario where the IRS tells you that you failed to report income from a job you never knew you had. But you don't need to wait for the IRS to flag this for you. According to Paul Stephens at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: "If you receive your statement and see that the earnings reported are greater than your actual earnings in a given year, someone might have stolen your Social Security number and be using it for wage reporting services." 16. Locked Out of Your Email Account Your email account will never change your password on you without your consent. That is, unless an identity thief has hacked into your account and changed your password. If you are suddenly unable to log into your email using a username and password that you know are correct, all the personal information contained in your email account could be in the hands of identity thieves. If any of these warnings signs have shown up in your life, you know you've been hit by identity thieves. The next step is to take action immediately to limit the damage identity thieves can do to your finances, reputation, and records. See our article "What Should I Do If I Suspect I'm a Victim of Identity Theft?" to see what you need to do next.
Recently, a story appeared in the news about a thief who had withdrawn $7,500 from the account of one Erick Lee at a grocery store branch of Wells Fargo in Lubbock, California. The thief might have gotten away clean had he not returned the next day with a falsified Social Security card to empty the remaining $25,000 in the account. It was his return that tipped off bank employees. When police officers arrived at the bank, they found that the thief's age was inconsistent with the birthdate on his driver's license and arrested him. Fortunately, he was convicted and sentenced to spend two years in federal prison in addition to paying Wells Fargo $27,800 in restitution. This is the kind of story that makes us clutch our wallets or purses and pray that it never happens to us, but this story at least had a happy ending. The identity thief was apprehended and amends will be made. Unfortunately, hundreds of identity theft cases don't end on such a happy note. According to Cyber-Dome.com, 11 million Americans fell victim to identity thieves in 2009 alone and each lost an average of $5,000 in repayment, legal help, and paperwork. All of this is enough to make any sane person wonder: how could this happen? Inevitably comes the second, even more chilling, question: could this happen to me? Not to mince words, yes, identity theft can happen to you. It can happen to anyone. But understanding how it occurs is the first step to improving your odds of fighting off an identity attack. They all have one thing in common: they all involve thieves trying to grab your personal information to pretend to be you for their monetary benefit. Here are the eight most common ways identity thieves catch you while your guard is down and seize your personal information.. Stealing wallets and purses that contain ID cards, credit cards, or bank information. Stealing your mail including credit and bank statements, phone or utility bills, new checks, and tax information. Completing a "change of address form" to redirect the destination of your mail. Rummaging through your trash for discarded personal data in a practice known as "dumpster diving." Taking personal information that you share or post on the Internet. Breaking into your records through hacking, paying others to give access, etc. Impersonating a credit authority. Taking personal information through other means. This is quite a list, so we'll start at the top and explain each one. 1. Stealing wallets and purses containing ID cards, credit cards, or bank information. Wallets and purses are hugely convenient. They make one tidy place where you carry your personal ID, credit cards, and other important items. But they also make a nice tidy package for thieves, containing your: Driver's license Debit and credit cards Insurance cards Social Security card Unlike with filing cabinets or computer files, we tend to leave wallets in our pockets, sitting on tables and countertops, forgotten in your passenger seat. We take them everywhere, and all it takes is one forgetful moment for your purse to fall into the wrong hands. With one quick grab at a mall or restaurant, identity thieves can snatch all of your most important important information and do untold damage to your name and your finances. Just how much identity theft is due to stolen wallets and purses? According to a 2009 survey by Javelin Research, a whopping 43 percent of identity theft starts with a stolen wallet. That's nearly half! Keep in mind, these numbers include instances where wallets and purses are snatched off someone's person and also instances where wallets and purses are left in public and then picked up. 2. Breaking into your mailbox for credit and bank statements, phone or utility bills, new checks, and tax information. Yes, your mail says a lot about you. Most likely, it's more than you want to share with identity thieves. Although the mail has been a mainstay of communication for decades, it now poses a huge risk. Identity thieves can literally walk right up to your mailbox and take what they want. Surprisingly, many organization continue to send the most sensitive of documents through the mail, including: Banks Credit card companies The Department of Motor Vehicles The Social Security Administration The Internal Revenue Service Taking a glance at the types of documents you receive through mail from these organizations, it's not hard to imagine the havoc they could wreak on your life. Driver's licenses, debit cards, Social Security cards, birth certificates, personal checks-they're all up for grabs in your mailbox. 3. Using a "change of address form" to redirect the destination of your mail. But why break into people's mailboxes to get other's personal information when you can just have it sent to your own mailbox? Unfortunately, the change of address form, which was made to help movers reroute their mail to their new location, can also be used by identity thieves to grab your personal information before it even gets to your house. In this case, however, victims aren't even aware that their mail has been tampered with until a few months later when it dawns on them that they haven't been receiving any communications from the bank or their mortgage company. And that's a long time for identity thieves to have access to your finances. 4. "Dumpster diving" for your discarded personal data. You know how they say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Well, that is literally true for identity thieves. Not content with raiding people's mailboxes or pilfering wallets, identity thieves aren't above digging through trash cans and dumpsters in search of your personal information. All that stuff that comes in the mail, as well as any other documents you keep around the house, often ends up in your garbage. After all, you can't hold onto it forever. But this means that your bank statements, credit card statements, and other sensitive documents are sitting in your trash receptacle choice, waiting to be harvested by identity thieves. 5. Tricking you into handing out your personal information on the Internet. The Internet is largely anonymous. This is great for leaving comments or making online purchases. Sometimes you just want to be left alone as you browse. But identity thieves also take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet, pretending to be credible or friendly long enough to get you to hand over your personal information. Online identity theft has been around almost as long as the Internet itself. Some of the greatest hits include the "Nigerian Prince" email. In this scam, email users received messages from a fictional prince in Nigeria (or some other African nation) asking for the user's help in wiring millions of dollars to their bank account in exchange for a sizeable commission. When the user handed over their bank account information, the identity thieves who'd sent the fake email could suck all the money out of the user's bank account. Another greatest hit was the "work from home" scam, which promised to get users set up to make a six-figure income from home... for a small fee. Users entered their credit card information to pay for the setup package, only to find themselves waiting and waiting for something that didn't exist. The "work from home" promoters were actually identity thieves, who had set up the whole scam just to grab users' credit card information. Now there are a host of online identity theft threats out there, the most prevalent of which is phishing. Yet another weird word, phishing is defined by Computerworld like this: "Phishing (sometimes called carding or brand spoofing) uses e-mail messages that purport to come from legitimate businesses that one might have dealings with." Their description of which companies these emails can come from is honestly scary. They include eBay, PayPal, Citigroup, Yahoo!, Best Buy, even insurance agencies. In short, they can come almost any company you've had contact with and they can look completely legitimate. So if phishing emails look like the real thing, how will you know them when you see them? They usually go something like this: You receive an email message with the logo and branding of a company you know telling you that your account has been compromised and is being restricted. To unrestrict your account, you are directed to click on a link. The link takes you to a page that looks just like the company's real homepage. In order to unrestrict your account, the pages says, you might have to type in your credit card information, PIN number, or other personal information. Thinking your account is truly in danger, you enter the requested information. And just like that, identity thieves have your personal information. Of course, phishing, email scams, and job scams are just a smattering of the dangers that await on the Internet. When dealing with the anonymity of the Web, you have to treat everyone like a potential threat to your identity. 6. Impersonating a credit authority. Pretending to be a credible company isn't a tool of online identity thieves only. Identity thieves will use this same tactic over the phone or even in person, pretending to be from your credit card company or another institution. As with phishing, they might request your account number or other pieces of sensitive information to protect your account or offer you fake opportunities in exchange. Ironically, these impersonators often use consumers' fear of identity theft to trick consumers into giving away their personal information. 7. Breaking into your records through hacking, paying others to give access, etc. Instead of tricking you into handing out your personal information, some identity will just break in and take it by force. It's unnerving to think of, but even inside a government building, your personal information can be at risk. Computer-savvy identity thieves will often break into government or company databases and siphon out individuals' data.Examples of such attacks would be the data breaches that have occurred within the Federal Government over the last couple years, during which identity thieves penetrated the government's system defenses and filched the personal information for over a 100,000 employees, contractors, and family members. This included almost 2,000 bank accounts, according to Reuters. Sadly, these types of attacks have been carried out on non-government sites as well, like Microsoft, eBay, and Google. We should also mention here that not all of these attacks are executed from without. Often, identity thieves will simply pay off employees to access and grab the information for them. 8. Taking personal information through other means. Because there are so many ways that identity thieves can get your personal information, this last category is really just a catch-all. One of the sneakiest ways we found that identity thieves can grab your banking information is by attaching a small electronic device to ATMs, which then records PIN numbers, account numbers, and everything else thieves need to access the account later. This practice is known as skimming. And then there are the more subtle ways that identity theft can be carried out not by rings of scheming criminal masterminds, but by everyday individuals with ill intent. One striking example of this kind of identity theft was a recent news story where a disgruntled Alabama waitress simply added on extra tips and charges on her customers' receipts after they'd left the restaurant. The customers found out later when their credit card statement came in the mail. In her own way, the waitress was using customers' credit cards fraudulently for her own gain. The bottom line of all this is clear: identity thieves have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to get at your personal information. And it's not a matter of if they attack you, but when. When those attacks occur, whether your personal information is protected or not depends on your preparation.
That moment when you start to panic as you pat yourself down to find your wallet, and it's not there. You check every place imaginable and even sit down to rethink your steps. You have asked your family, friends and even called places you think you might have left it. If all else fails and hours later you still can't find your wallet or have not received a call with somebody finding it, you need to begin the process of recovery. It's always better to assume that your wallet is stolen rather than thinking you left it in a place no one could find. If you don't do anything about your lost or stolen wallet then you can easily become a victim Step 1: Write a List The first step to recovery is physically writing a list of all the items in your wallet. This is a general list of what could be found in wallets: Credit card(s) Debit/ATM card(s) Driver's License Social Security card Passport(s) Insurance card(s) Military identification card(s) Step 2: Cancel Your Credit/Debit Cards Call your bank and credit card company to cancel your cards. This is a precaution if someone finds your cards and tries to use it fraudulently. If you go into your local bank you can usually receive a temporary card with another form of identification (passport, birth certificate or social security card) until you receive new cards which can take up to 10 days by mail. VISA: 1-800-847-2911 MasterCard: 1-800-627-8372 Discovera: 1-800-347-2683 American Express: 1-800-297-1234 Step 3: File a Report to Local Police Report your lost/stolen wallet to local police. Many people are intimidated or feel like they don't have the time to file a police report for something as small as a stolen wallet, but this can actually significantly help. Filing a policy report can assist in liability issues, identity theft fraud, insurance claims and more. Don't be scared to answer the questions in the report, it will all be basic questions: Where do you think you lost your wallet? When do you think you lost your wallet? What was the actual content in your wallet at the time? How much cash? Which credit cards? Write a description of your wallet. If your wallet was stolen, are there any suspects or a description of anyone that is suspicious? After you filed the report, ask to have a copy so you can have it in your records. Step 4: Obtain a New Driver's License The next step is obtaining a new driver's license. Many states allow you to order a replacement driver's license online if you have your driver's license number. Other states will require that you actually come into a DMV. Replacing your driver's license does come with a fee and is generally no more than $30. For further details on replacing your driver's license you can visit the DMV online. Step 5: Contact Credit Bureaus In the case that your wallet was stolen, you will want to call each of the credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to place a Fraud Alert of Credit Freeze on your account. With both of these services applied to your credit, it makes it very unlikely for a thief to run up high bills in your name. Step 6: Update Online Accounts & Subscriptions Write out a list of all your online accounts and subscription services. This would include your online banking automatic bill pay or subscription services like Netflix. Unfortunately, since you have already cancelled those credit or debit card numbers, you won't have the updated information to make those necessary payments. This means you have to go back and add new information to each one of these accounts. Other common subscriptions and automatic payments are: Hulu Plus Your Gym Membership Magazine or Newspapers Cell Phone Plan Television Cable Loans Insurance Internet Provider Utilities Bill Step 7: Get a New Wallet The easiest part about losing a wallet is buying a new one. You'll want a new wallet to keep everything in one place, especially since you'll be getting different cards at different times. If you had other items or cards in your wallet that was not addressed, then the best thing is to call up the organization that you had obligations to. They can best inform you of the process you need to go through in order to replace the item. It might be helpful to ask if there is a fee to replacing it. The process of recovering everything after you lost your wallet isn't the easiest, and it definitely isn't the quickest either. Keep in mind that you want to make all of these necessary steps or calls soon after you lost your wallet. Some organizations require that you report a lost or stolen wallet within a certain timeframe of the incident (e.g. 24 hours). Recovering your lost wallet is not a fun lesson to learn, but you can almost guarantee that you won't lose it again!