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Blogs and article by Adam K Levin about credit, identity theft, data security, and consumer protection.


  • ransomware

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

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    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 […]

  • Debt Collector Left Consumers Hanging on Medical Bill Disputes, Says CFPBFinancial Literacy, health care

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    A debt collector with ties to one of the nation’s largest private hospital chains spent yearsviolating basic provisions of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, federal regulators say. Consumers who dispute a debt are entitled to a response within 30 days, according to federal law. Medical debt collector Syndicated Office Systems took, on average, more than 90 days to respond to disputes, and in some cases, took more than […]

  • Rep. Jim Langevin: What We Should Be Doing to Protect Our Kids’ Creditcredit, Identity Theft

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    An 18-year-old looking to purchase his first car. A young woman applying for the student loan that will put her through college. A foster youth aging out of the system and eager to get a place of his own. These are exciting milestones in the lives of young people, turning points that mark new beginnings and the start of independence. Now imagine you’ve reached this crossroads only to discover that your identity had been stolen. […]

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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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 […]

  • Cyber thief

    The Three Laws of Cyber Fraud in Today’s Online WorldData Security, Technology

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    One of the most popular sessions at the RSA Conference was the Cryptographers’ Panel, during which some of the founding fathers of modern cryptography discussed trends in research and cybersecurity in general. This year the panel consisted of Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Whit Diffie and Ed Georgio (former chief codemaker and chief codebreaker at NSA). During the session Shamir referred to his three laws of computer security, which he formulated many years ago: Absolutely secure systems do not exist. To halve your […]

  • Homeowners

    How Important Is Your Down Payment on a Home?Financial Literacy

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    When buying a home, most people take on a mortgage. There are many things to consider when taking on a mortgage loan, including interest rate, closing costs and the down payment. Once you calculate how much house you can realistically afford, you can start looking at properties and considering how you will afford the house. There are several ways to fund what will likely be the biggest purchase of your life. Before you start signing […]

  • Wetware: The Major Data Security Threat You’ve Never Heard OfColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    For the first time, according to a recent study, criminal and state-sponsored hacks have surpassed human error as the leading cause of health care data breaches, and it could be costing the industry as much as $6 billion. With an average organization cost of $2.1 million per breach, the results of the study give rise to a question: How do you define human error? More than half of the respondents in the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth […]

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