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  • Identity Theft Is Dead. Long Live Identity Theft!Column, Blog

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    Incidents of identity theft held fairly steady last year, according to a new report by Javelin Strategy and Research. It would seem with time-honored methods of ripping people off going the way of Bonnie and Clyde, fraudsters — ever sophisticated, creative and persistent — scrambled to find new ways to increase revenues in 2015. Of course, they did. They always do. If I could drive one point home after reading the latest Javelin report, “2016 […]

  • Why the IRS Should Push Tax Day to June 15Column, Blog

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    The only way to stop tax refund fraud is to change the way the tax filing and refund system works, and while this may be a painful process for employers and taxpayers alike, it’s necessary. The Problem With Data Unless you’ve been hiding out in the Unabomber Suite at the Loon Lake Lodge, you know that data-related crimes are legion, but what you may not know is that data-related tax fraud specifically is increasing geometrically. […]

  • How Mega-Breaches Could Literally Kill YouColumn, Blog

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    It was not very long ago that information shared with your doctor was sacrosanct, at the same remove from exposure as utterances made under the protection of an attorney-client relationship or pillow talk in a spousal bed. That may no longer be the case — and the fallout could be life-threatening. Unless you are living off the grid in a log cabin on Loon Lake, you have heard about the mega-breaches responsible for this paradigm […]

  • Will Someone Else Be Cashing Your Tax Refund This Year?Column, Data Security, Blog

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    Here is the IRS’s phone number: 800-829-1040. With an anticipated $21 billion in tax refund fraud this year, you might need it. And that figure doesn’t include losses from dodges like the IRS phone scam, which has been enjoying a renaissance of late. IRS phone frauds aren’t terribly difficult to detect. You get a call from the IRS saying you owe money and that you must pay immediately. The threat of police intervention may or […]

  • 12 Resolutions That Could Save Your Identity in 2016Column, Blog, Personal Finance

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    Another New Year is upon us. Bring on another raft of resolutions I say! I mean, what would a New Year be in the absence of resolutions? As Aldous Huxley wrote in Time Must Have a Stop, “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too.” This year, I am advocating something simple: It’s high time we (as in all of us – business, government and consumers) […]

  • Beware This Year’s Scams of ChristmasColumn, Blog, Identity Theft

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    While the concept “forewarned is forearmed” is true for every day of the year, it’s particularly true during the holidays. December is the time when most of us focus less on our day jobs and more on family, friends, gift giving and celebration. The holidays are a cause for celebration by scammers, phishers and identity thieves for a very different reason. Because we are their day jobs, our joyful distraction provides them bountiful opportunities to […]

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    The IRS Request That Could Help Identity ThievesColumn, Blog

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    More than a year ago, Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez asked Congress to strengthen her agency’s data security powers. “Never has the need for such legislation been greater,” she said during a hearing in early 2014. Nearly two years later, never has a statement like “never has the need been greater” remained an accurate description of a systemic failure when it comes to real advances — at both the government and enterprise level — […]

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    Your Holiday Identity Theft ChecklistColumn, Blog, Identity Theft

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    The holiday season is a busy time of the year for identity theft and other kinds of identity-related fraud. Scams abound, but if you follow a few simple rules, you can sidestep some avoidable holiday blues. There is so much personally identifiable information floating around — readily available on the dark web where information black markets thrive — that it truly is a wonder more people are not becoming victims. That said, Javelin Strategy and […]

  • The Simple Way to Keep Your Tax Refund SafeColumn, Blog

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    The holiday season is just getting underway, a time dedicated to finding the perfect gift for loved ones and a steady procession of festive events that ends when we ring in the New Year. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for people dedicated to the commission of identity-related tax fraud. I’ve written more extensively about this issue in my book Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, […]

  • Facebook “Most Used Words” App as Privacy LessonColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    If you have an account on Facebook, you may have noticed posts featuring a nicely designed cloud comprised of the words that your Facebook friends use most often. It’s powered by an app from a company called Vonvon, and it’s been getting a lot of attention this week from consumer privacy experts. The reason this app has privacy hawks screeching is simple. It grabs an enormous amount of personally identifiable information and private details about […]

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