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November 15, 2015 - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Child Identity Theft : Credit card and social security numbers are stolen, and you don't realize it until you see a hefty bill at the end of the month or look up your credit history. It's becoming more common for hackers to take this personal information and use it as their own. And now they've schemed something else, taking your child's identity. It's a story that ever parent needs to be aware, of and understand their child could be next. Brothers Philip and Alex spend their afternoons outside. Playing on the swings, and the trampoline. But inside, the boy's mom Deedee has just learned about the crowd hack attack, or what most people know it as, child identity theft. "I'm stunned, I don't know what to do to protect my child's identification," said a concerned Deedee. It's a scary concept. The idea a stranger can get ahold of your personal information and completely steal your identity. We're talking credit cards, drivers licenses, and birth certificates. But when it comes to kids, they don't have credit cards to be stolen. So hackers go straight for the social security numbers. "They're just innocent people doing nothing and have to start their life off with an identification crisis." A crisis for sure. Parents like Deedee are worried their kids could be the next victims. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17.6 million people in the United States experienced identity theft in 2014. The 2012 Child Identity Fraud Report found that 1 in 40 households with minors, under 18, had at least one child whose personal information was stolen. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said hackers don't discriminate, and your child could be next. "It's important for parents to understand that their child's identity is as much at risk as their own," said Rutledge. So why would a hacker try and take these two fun loving kid's identities? Well for one, their credit history isn't being checked regularly like adults, so the attackers can get away with making purchases or starting some credit history of their own for awhile before you'd notice. And two, it's easy. Parents fill out forms for daycare and sports camps all the time, and it's quite easy for that social security number to land in the wrong hands. Deedee said, "They've been to daycare, they've been to summer camps, after school programs. You use their social security for daycare the doctors office, everything." Deedee realizes now how easy it is, and how low people will stop to get ahead. She recalls a time where she was teaching her son about stranger danger. "I was teaching Phillip about strangers when he was about four years old, and I said, 'Now Phillip what do you do if a stranger comes up to you and offers you candy?' and he looked about me and said, 'Say thank you.'" And now says she has more work to do. "If you're lost, we teach our kids their address, phone number, all the things we did when we were growing up in order to keep our kids safe so now what do we do if their identification can be stolen?" So on a colorful fall day, while Deedee enjoys some after school fun with her boys, now since we told her about the dangers of child identity theft, she's thinking about that too. "I will now, which is just said that this is what we live in we try to protect our children as much as we can and now there's something else." The Arkansas Attorney General's Office is a good place to start if this happens to you. Otherwise, cancel credit cards as soon as you can, and contact local law enforcement

Source: Arkansas Matters:


October 225, 2015 - IRS will share tax-filing info to fight identity theft Read more: When taxpayers hear that their tax information will be shared, they generally freak out, and with good reason. Almost daily we learn of some hacking incident in which personal data is obtained and then used to steal the victims' financial identities. The IRS has not been immune from such security breaches. Its own online transcript tool was compromised last spring. Tax-related identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission's consumer complaint list in 2014 and continues to grow. Now, however, the IRS, along with state tax administrators and tax industry partners that make up the so-called Security Summit, say that sharing of taxpayer filing data will help stem tax identity theft and tax-return fraud. The group, which was formed in March, has announced new security practices that will take effect with the 2016 filing season. Read more: Follow us: @Bankrate on Twitter | Bankrate on Facebook


Source: Bankrate:

September 27, 2015 - Identity theft hit 7% of U.S. population last year

Almost 18 million people were victims of identity theft in the United States last year, with the majority of crimes targeting credit cards and bank accounts, the Department of Justice said Sunday. The figure represents 7% of the U.S. population aged 16 or older and is a rise of 1 million people from 2012, the last year for which the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics published a similar report. The latest report counts instances where a person experienced misuse of a financial or other account -- not simply a breach of their personal information. Just over two in every five cases involved a credit card account and just under two in five involved a bank account. About half of all victims first became aware of a problem when they were contacted by a financial institution with a further one in five noticing fraudulent charge in their account. One positive finding was a drop in the average amount of money lost. The mean out-of-pocket loss per incident fell from $4,804 to $2,895, although many losses were substantially lower, with the median loss unchanged at $100. Slightly more women then men were victims, but criminals are apparently equal opportunity thieves, with identity theft spread across all age groups, races and income levels. After all, a dollar is a dollar no matter whose account it is in. The DOJ did note a higher than average rise in the number of victims aged 65 or older, which jumped about 20% to 2.6 million people. .

Source: Computer World

Aug 5, 2015 - Smartwatches Present Opportunities for Identity Theft

Researchers from the University of New Haven in Connecticut have conducted a study to show how easy it would be for hackers to steal personal information from smartwatches. Dr. Frank Breitinger, associate director of the University of New Haven Cyber Forensics Research and Education Group (UNHCFREG) recently presented a study to test the security on smartwatches to prove how hackers could easily steal personal data from several watch models. A test group of "white hackers" tested a total of 10 smartwatch models, including the Samsung Gear 2 Neo and the LG G Watch, conducting a forensic analysis to see if any important data contained in the timepieces was encrypted. The hackers were able to swipe the all the information they set out to get, proving that without encryption, users' sensitive personal information can be vulnerable to hacker attacks. They were able to glean calendar events, contact details, and pedometer data from the LG G Watch, while the Gear 2 Neo yielded emails, messages, and health and fitness information. The study concluded that wearables were vulnerable to attack due to lack of encryption and an unsecure authentication system. With some research and medium-level expertise, the data was no difficult to obtain. The study aims to inform users that their smartwatches do serve to store data, as well as other important information like bank account numbers and credit card numbers which can render it vulnerable to theft, just like mobile phones. Not too many people own smartwatches currently, but in the numbers are predicted to grow in the coming years. According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, while wearable manufacturers like Pebble, Motorola, LG, and Samsung shipped only 4.6 million smartwatches in 2014, it has forecasted the numbers will go up to 28.1 million in 2015 Read more at


Source: University of New Haven


Jun 23, 2015 - A New Early Warning of Identity Theft Is Proposed

The firms that control consumers’ credit reports need to do more to notify people if they may be the victims of identity theft, says Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.). Sen. Schumer on Monday sent a letter to Equifax , Experian and TransUnion, the country’s three largest credit-reporting firms, asking them to implement a system that will notify consumers when someone is trying to get a loan or other type of credit in their name. If the consumers didn’t request the credit, they would have an early indication that their information had been compromised. Consumers should have the option of signing up for these alerts, the senator says. Sen. Schumer’s letter suggests that consumers who are sent alerts should also be allowed to immediately freeze their credit reports, which would prevent the loans from being given out. With a freeze, lenders can’t obtain your credit reports, so a new account can’t be opened in your name. (You will have to undo a freeze before applying for credit.) While consumers can currently freeze their credit reports, Sen. Schumer’s proposal would allow them to do this immediately as part of the alert. His request follows a number of large identity-theft breaches, including recent compromises of government data. Most identity-theft victims don’t find out their information has been compromised until after fraudulent loans are taken out in their name and their credit scores decline because of the additional debt that generally goes unpaid. The alert would be a quick, preventive measure to avoid such a setback to their credit, he said. “Too many people have faced the reality of learning that someone else has opened new lines of credit in their names only once their score has already been run into the ground,” he wrote in the letter to the credit-reporting firms. The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, declined to comment on Sen. Schumer’s proposal. The group says the industry has measures in place that provide consumer protections. The three firms allow consumers to request fraud alerts at no cost for a certain period of time on their credit reports, which require lenders to take additional steps in verifying the identity of the person applying for credit before approving them, says Norm Magnuson, a spokesman for group. The period for which the fraud alerts are in place varies. It is generally 90 days for most consumers and an extended period that can be permanent for victims of fraud, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at, a credit-management site. The credit-reporting firms also sell credit-monitoring services that notify customers when their credit reports are being checked for a loan application. That can cost between $18 and $30 a month. All states have laws that allow consumers to freeze their credit reports, a service whose costs can vary from free to $10 per credit-reporting firm, says Mr. Ulzheimer. With the Schumer proposal, the notification would be free and in place for as long as the consumer wants it. The proposal follows growing pressure on the three firms from state governments, many of which have reached settlements with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion in recent months that require the firms to change how they handle the information they maintain on consumers’ debts and repayment practices. The settlements, in particular the first one that was announced between New York’s attorney general and the three firms in March, are expected to lead to an overhaul of how they handle errors and list unpaid medical debts on credit reports.


February 1, 2015 - Wireless connections in Public places

Be aware of free Wi-Fi wireless connections in public places such as Airport, Internet Cafe, Hotel, Restaurants.
Criminals may set up free wireless networks that act as a trap for travelers. They are not real hotspots but ad hoc peer-to-peer networks set up by an individual with a laptop nearby. They have the same name as a legitimate hotspot at the airport or something similar, such as "Free Airport Wi-Fi". You're able access the Internet when you connect to one of these networks because the attacker has set up his computer to let you browse the Internet via his connection. But because you're using his connection, all your traffic goes through their laptop and they can see everything you do online, including Credit Cards numbers, all your usernames and passwords when you're not using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a secure web site (the Web Site's URL will start with https://).

January 10, 2015- Increases in Mobile Fraud and ID Theft Could Hamper Mobile Payment / Banking Initiatives

When it comes to fraud and identity theft, one rule remains constant - fraudsters will follow the money. As mobile devices are ramping up incidents of mobile virus and mobile malware are likewise on the upswing.

New research from TowerGroup finds that 2015 will be the year that new banking and payment initiatives in the mobile channel will be increasingly targeted by those engaged in fraud and identity theft, with the goal of infecting or otherwise compromising mobile devices. These targets will include deployments where a mobile device acts as a credit or debit card.

Like malicious software (or "malware") in the wired world, mobile viruses are small programs that infect a host device. While most mobile phones are potential targets, smart phones and wireless PDAs as particularly attractive to fraudsters given their advanced capabilities to support PC-like applications including Web browsing and instant messaging. TowerGroup believes that current mobile commerce initiatives emerging from the financial services industry lack a reasonable and justifiable focus on mobile malware.

January 8, 2015- Diagnosis: medical Identity Theft
For $60, a thief can buy your health records—and use them to get costly care. Guess who gets the bill


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