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Author Archives: Adam Levin

  • The Federal Government Needs a Cybersecurity Marathon, Not a SprintColumn, Blog


    You may not have heard of Tony Scott, but that may change next week. Over the past 16 years, he served as the chief information officer (CIO) for both Microsoft and Walt Disney, and from 1999-2005 he was the chief technology officer of information systems and services at General Motors Corporation. He was recruited to become the CIO of the U.S. back in February to stop our nation’s cyber-bleeding, specifically at federal agencies like the […]

  • Open Letter on the OPM BreachPersonal Finance


    “It’s really frustrating to think that my family might suffer from my information having been stolen.” Those are the words of David Thul, who served 22 years with the Minnesota National Guard, was deployed to Kosovo in 2003 and again to Iraq from 2005 to 2007. “My country didn’t have my back,” Thul told Credit.com’s Christine DiGangi. The latest numbers on the OPM breach are in: 19.7 million security clearance applicants 2 million family and […]

  • The Millennial Mindset That’s Setting Them Up for Financial SuccessColumn, credit, Blog, Personal Finance


    Millennials are big on communication and DIY projects. While some say they are self-centered, or even self-obsessed, others point to their tendency for group-think and communitarian leanings. They believe more in the power of their network of friends than in institutions. One thing is for sure: Millennials are heavily invested in controlling the narrative of their lives — both globally and digitally. While such a tack can be instantly gratifying on social networking sites, it […]

  • Does Your State’s Unclaimed Funds Expose Too Much Private Information?Column, Government, Blog, Identity Theft


    When it comes to privacy, not all states are alike. This was confirmed yet again last week in the 50 State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices we compiled. The compendium ranks the amount of personal data state treasuries expose during the process by which individuals can claim and collect unclaimed funds. The data exposed can provide fraudsters with a crime exacta: claiming money that no one will ever miss and gathering various nuggets of personal […]

  • The State Compendium of Unclaimed Property PracticesFinancial Literacy, Personal Finance


    You may already know that every state has an unclaimed funds website that aims to reunite unclaimed property with the rightful owners. However, in the endeavor to provide consumers with as much information as possible, that information is also often easily viewable by potential identity thieves. The State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices ranks every state (and D.C.) according to how much specific information about a person is provided online without user verification. The standard […]

  • ransomware

    Is Your State Helping Scammers Rip You Off?Column, Government, Blog, Identity Theft


    As cybercriminals become more skilled, the privacy practices at many organizations have not kept apace. In the State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices that I’ve compiled, I found this to be the case at many state treasuries where the data exposed provides fraudsters with a crime exacta: claiming money that no one will ever miss and gathering various nuggets of personal data that can help facilitate other types of identity theft. First, you have to […]

  • The Real Question We Should Be Asking After the Massive Government HackColumn, Data Security, Blog


    True or False? There was no way the Office of Personnel Management could have prevented hackers from stealing the sensitive personal information of 4.1 million federal employees, past and present. If you guessed “False,” you’d be wrong. If you guessed, “True,” you’d also be wrong. The correct response is: “Ask a different question.” Serious data breaches keep happening because there is no black-and-white answer to the data breach quagmire. So what should we be doing? […]

  • 5 Ways the IRS Scammers Could Have Stolen All Those Tax ReturnsColumn, Blog


    Last week, the Internal Revenue Service revealed that a group of organized criminals effectively walked through their front door and used an application on its “Get Transcript” site to pore over the past tax returns of more than 100,000 Americans. According to several news reports, the stolen information was deployed to commit tax fraud, with an estimated take of up to $50 million in bogus tax refunds before the IRS discovered the ploy. “We’re confident […]

  • 5 Ways Your Email Address Can Be Used Against YouColumn, Blog


    Email addresses are like opinions—nearly everyone has one. It is the most public piece of personal information you have besides your name. But what you may not know about your email address could hurt you. Your email may not seem like personally identifiable information at first blush, and for good reason. It is a requirement of everyday life. Asked for a list of sensitive personal information, I feel pretty certain that most people wouldn’t think […]

  • 5 Identity Theft Facts That Will Terrify YouColumn, Blog, Identity Theft


    Identity theft was the number one consumer complaint at the Federal Trade Commission last year. So far in 2015, the data breach problem that drives so many identity-related crimes has gotten worse. The massive compromises at Anthem and Premera alone put a combined 91 million records in harm’s way. With more information “out there” than we can possibly know, identity theft has become the third certainty in life, right behind death and taxes. And because […]