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Author Archives: Adam Levin


  • The 5 Dumbest Credit MistakesColumn, Blog, Personal Finance

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    Several years ago, I watched in amazement when the CEO of a major identity theft protection firm, appeared in a series of commercials waving his Social Security card in the air, parading his Social Security number on a billboard through heavily populated urban areas and screaming his SSN through a bullhorn as a challenge to those who believed that he couldn’t protect it. As a result, he couldn’t protect it and became a 13-time victim […]

  • The Heartbleed Bug: Changing Your Passwords Isn’t EnoughPress

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    The Heartbleed bug has sent a shockwave through the Internet, as millions of users try to take stock of all of the accounts they’ve ever created and figure out how to change their passwords. Too bad their passwords are just the beginning of the problem. Given the reach of Heartbleed and how long the bug existed, it’s hard to even say how much data unscrupulous hackers could’ve gotten their hands on and, because of how […]

  • How to Remember All the Passwords You’re ResettingColumn, Blog

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    If you’re like most people, the news of the Heartbleed bug and how broadly its security flaw spread is worrisome enough. But the list of sites where you absolutely have to change your passwords looks daunting for anyone. You probably have to change passwords on your email, your Facebook, and maybe even your online dating profile, not to mention potentially countless online shopping sites (depending upon the depth and breadth of your need to shop […]

  • Why a Perfect Credit Score Doesn’t MatterColumn, Financial Literacy, Blog

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    There are some people in life for whom an A on a report card was never good enough, who idly wondered why they were never above the 99th percentile on standardized tests and relentlessly beat themselves up whenever they came in second. In adulthood, some of those same people are relentlessly pursuing the highest possible FICO credit score – an 850. I’m here to tell those people to stop. The idea of “gaming” your already-excellent […]

  • Why You Are Vulnerable To Tax Identity TheftColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    A few weeks ago, a friend of mine – let’s call her Mallory – got an unsettling call from her accountant. The accountant had been preparing Mallory’s taxes, hit “Send” to e-file the finished return, and it was rejected. Someone had already filed a tax return using Mallory’s Social Security number. She’d been a victim of tax identity theft. The accountant called the IRS, but they wouldn’t talk to her. Mallory called and was directed […]

  • The Data Breach Factor So Many Companies Forget: EmotionColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    Smart business people know that they must secure their systems to withstand the most determined and persistent real-world, as well as cyber, attacks. They must minimize their risk of exposure by deploying the most sophisticated security and anti-malware software, using outside firms to frequently penetration-test their cyber defenses, continuously training their employees to comply with the most stringent security protocols, investigating every vendor and installing state-of-the-art physical security equipment. They must obsessively monitor all of […]

  • The Debt Tax: What Owing Money Costs YouColumn, Financial Literacy, Blog

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    If you’re carrying debts — from student loans, credit cards, a car note or a mortgage — you could probably tell me roughly how much you owe and at what interest rates you owe it. Thanks to the CARD Act, those of us who carry credit card debt now see how long it will take to pay it off on our monthly statements. It’s likely, however, that most folks don’t realize that by spending money […]

  • Stanford’s $4 Million Data Breach Settlement Proves You Are Your VendorData Security, Blog

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    My alma mater, Stanford University, is awaiting final judicial approval of a $4 million settlement in a class action suit over its 2011 data breach. Each of the 20,000 class members — whose confidential medical records were left up online for almost a year — will receive $100 and Stanford Hospital & Clinics will fund a $500,000 educational program to help prevent similar breaches in the future. The question, however, is who the program will […]

  • IRS Warns Of Largest-Ever Phone Scam Targeting TaxpayersBlog, Identity Theft

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    There’s nothing that strikes fear into the hearts of men (and women) like a call from the IRS — and this tax season, that’s what a new group of identity thieves counted on to bilk taxpayers out of over $1 million and counting. In this new scam, which is so serious that the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration issued a warning about on Thursday, thieves contact individuals by phone and demand immediate payment for […]

  • Your Identity Thief Might Be Hiding In Your Family TreeColumn, Blog, Identity Theft

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    Most people assume identity thieves are super-sophisticated hackers sitting in front of banks of blinking computer screens. The more vigilant among us might be shredding every document in sight, jealously guarding sensitive information from unknown callers or online “frenemies” and installing the most sophisticated firewalls and security software on our mobile devices and computers. But sometimes you really never see it coming and the identity thief who ruined your credit and turned your life upside […]

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