Thursday, February 09, 2017

Identity theft insurance

Here’s a good article from the Insurance Information Institute on identity theft insurance. It was mentioned on the NBC Today show this morning.

A number of companies (besides Lifelock through AOL membership) offer it;  my experience is that it costs about $30 a month.

The article suggests that victims of identity theft often have lower credit scores and sometimes lose employment.  In the distant past, it was sometime common for some employers to hold associates “absolutely accountable” for their own reputations for security purposes.

The article also suggests aggressively checking your own credit reports in detail before doing a job search or looking for a new place to live.

One of the best defenses to your bank accounts is simply to check them regularly online, not from emails but from going directly to the sites.  Make sure you spell the URL’s right.

Identity theft insurance is often offered as a rider on property (homeowner's insurance) as it is on mine.  It may be part of umbrella coverage.  It is not the same, however, as coverage for online liability incidents, which I don't think can reliably be underwritten with ordinary property insurance.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Trump's "No computer is safe"

Donald Trump’s recent 4-worder “No computer is safe” could certainly be interpreted in the context of identity theft.  Because until there was widespread use of the Internet in commerce (after the late 90s) there were few such schemes.
Yet, by 2004 the problem was serious enough that Lifetime TV had produced the film “Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story”.
Trump, however, on Nov. 11 had announced a comprehensive program for cybersecurity despite his subsequent hints that digital life cannot be made safe (CNN story).

Remember, too, in the Old West:  there were horseback payroll robberies, and stagecoach and train hijackings, unpredictably.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yahoo! coughs up one billion identities to hackers

Here we go again, with another major hack, this time, over one billion Yahoo account, as reported, for example, by Tech Crunch,

Credit card and bank info was not taken.  There is such a huge cache that it sounds improbable that any one person would be targeted for identity theft.

On the other hand, you can't change your birthdate, and changing your name is impractical.  (Oh, in fifth grade, a girl wanted to change her name because I teased her over the "Life with Elizabeth" show -- and "Elizabeth, aren't you ashamed?"  Head shaken.  Betsy is a nickname for Elizabeth.)

My own Yahoo account no longer exists, it seems.  It was used during the glory days of GLIL.

Yup, there is even more pressure for everyone to move to two-factor authentication everywhere.

Here's a video on how to tell if your Yahoo! account is hacked.

YouTube has a lot of videos on how to hack Yahoo! (just type in that key search argument).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Widespread identity theft of minors reported again

Just as dead people are targets for identity theft, recent reports have covered children's identities being stolen, sometimes even by parents desperate to pay bills, as in this New York Times story by Ron Lieber in April 2015.

Typically, minors don't find out they have a problem until they are of college age and start trying to get their first credit cards, or first apartments and cars.  Kids who work while in college or even high school  have a better chance of finding out they have a problem earlier, as some employers will run checks.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

"Ghosting": identity theft of dead people

The AARP has recently advised families to take active steps to protect their deceased loved ones from identity theft, especially for IRS tax refund scams; an earlier article.

The crime is called “ghosting”. and is hard to catch.  The IRS has guidelines here.

Families should not publish exact birth-dates in obituaries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facebook identity scams? Fake senders?

Can people's Facebook accounts get hijacked?

I don't know.  I got a mystery message this morning about my government benefit.  No, it wasn't social security.  I was supposed to know what she was talking about.  I don't. Some "lucky fund from the government".

Then her messages went blank, saying that the Facebook sender needed verification.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why is a west coast company sending me a card with a half million line of credit, unsolicited?

This is pretty scary.  I get a blue "Notable Capital Premium Platinum Capital" card in the mail from Scottsdale, AZ, unsolicited.  With a $500,000 line of credit.

There's an 800 number to activate it.

Earlier cards were for $100,000 or $200,000.

Oh, maybe it;s in bitcoin.

It's getting close to time for my free Annual Credit Report.

But why are companies so eager to mail me credit lines that I didn't ask for?