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  • I Ate Thanksgiving Dinner With My Identity Thief for 19 Years

    Column Blog Identity Theft 

    Nineteen a minute: That’s how quickly people become identity theft victims in the U.S. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 10 and 16 million Americans are defrauded each year in this way. Thanksgiving can be an awkward time of year for some victims, since family members account for more than 30% of the identity thieves. Axton Betz-Hamilton knows this firsthand. Raised in a middle-class home—her mother Pamela was a tax preparer, her dad a department manager […]

  • 73,000 Webcams Are Open to Peeping Toms—Is Yours?

    Personal Finance 

    If the past year has taught consumers anything, it’s that identity thieves, fraudsters and scammers are on the prowl, going after any information they can use to make a buck. But the intrusions don’t stop there. If the thought of being the unwitting star of your own prime time reality show gives you the willies, consider the recent revelation that more than 73,000 unsecured webcams and surveillance cameras are, as I write this column, viewable […]

  • Shocked couple paying bills

    The Holiday Shopping Danger You Won’t See Coming

    Column Blog Personal Finance 

    Around this time last year, cybercrime went mainstream with Target’s announcement that the credit and debit card accounts of 40 million shoppers were nabbed during the height of the holiday shopping season. Worse, the personally identifiable information of 70 million Target customers was in the wind. Before you get too worked up, here’s something to remember: Breaches are and will always be the enemy, but the more likely source of financial woe this holiday season […]

  • It’s 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Social Security Number Is?

    Personal Finance 

    Your Social Security number is a skeleton key in the hands of an identity thief, but it’s not just about money. Those nine digits are used in too many transactions to enumerate, and because of that, there are plenty of opportunities for them to fall into the wrong hands. Whether we’re talking about tax fraud or more serious kinds of identity theft that could land you on a no-fly or even a most-wanted list–crimes committed […]

  • Here’s How the New Chip-and-PIN Credit Cards Could Be DOA

    Column Data Security Blog 

    A recent Gallup survey found that 69% of Americans worry “frequently” or “occasionally” about having a credit card compromised by computer hackers. It’s not shocking. Consumers are becoming more educated on the topic, and financial institutions are beginning to do more to combat fraud, including introducing new types of credit cards. One example of the latter is chip-and-PIN technology, which everyone from consumers to the president has hailed for its ability to help prevent fraud. […]

  • This Election Year’s Darwin Award Goes to the Folks Behind this Political Mailer

    Personal Finance 

    Did you hear the one about the Kentucky GOP candidate who asked his attorney general to investigate the state Democratic Party for allegedly sending out his Social Security number to thousands of constituents? Sorry to say, there’s no punch line here, because according to recent reports, it actually happened. Introducing Jeff Jobe. He’s running against one Johnny Bell, the incumbent Democrat representative of District 23 in Kentucky’s House of Representatives. It’s a local race with […]

  • Scam Alert

    Ebola Spammers are Spreading Malware

    Data Security Blog Technology 

    Ebola is a scary disease. Its spread in sub-Saharan Africa has captured the world’s attention as the death toll approaches 5,000, and President Obama appointed an official “Ebola Czar.” Talking heads and media outlets in the United States have even started talking about a travel ban on countries from the West African outbreak zone. In the midst of such widespread worry, hackers have seized upon the opportunity to find new ways to break into the […]

  • A Free Retina Scan with Your Next Purchase?

    Column Data Security Blog 

    Increasingly, legions of sophisticated hackers are infiltrating the most state-of-the-art data security strategies out there. The recent data compromises at Kmart and JPMorgan are in no way similar, except they share a common enemy. And while free retina scanners are probably a stretch, biometrics – the use of your biological data like fingerprints — may well be the next “less hackable” thing. During what will doubtless be a relatively brief window of opportunity before biometrics […]

  • The Real JPMorgan Data Breach Danger Is Still on Its Way

    Column Data Security Blog 

    The olive branch after the deluge of news about the JPMorgan data breach that exposed the personally identifiable information of 83 million customers was that no bank account information, or more sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers, had been compromised. What got lost in that torrent of stories was the fact that the information that did get exposed could unleash the mother of all phishing attacks. All signs point to phishing. The hackers wormed […]

  • Hacker

    The JP Morgan Breach: How to Protect Yourself

    Personal Finance 

    JP  Morgan’s recent disclosure that their data breach this summer compromised more than 76 million personal and small business accounts has sent customers and bankers alike scrambling to ensure that their data, identities, and financial well-being aren’t at risk. Although the banking giant has assured customers that they won’t be responsible for fraudulent charges and committed to spending $250 million toward (belatedly) enhancing their cyber security measures, a hack attack of this magnitude poses an even greater threat than the […]

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