Equifax, Inc – a major credit bureau, announced on Thursday, 9/7/17, that a massive data breach was discovered in July, which may have exposed names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. The current US population is approximately 326 million, so this data breach potentially affected 44% of Americans! In addition, a smaller amount of driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and certain documents were obtained. The breach lasted from mid-May to July of 2017.Continue reading “What You Need To Know About the Equifax Data Breach”→
USA Today reports that as many as 63,000 current and former students and staff at the University of Central Florida in Orlando had their names and Social Security numbers compromised when hackers attacked the school’s computer system, the university said Thursday. Their names, Social Security numbers, student ID numbers and information about their sport and studies were potentially accessed.
Unfortunately, IRS scams are some of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft. As reported in Forbes: “The trend is clear. Each year, the IRS publishes a list of its ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scams.”
This growing threat is one reason why LegalShield has partnered with Kroll to launch IDShield, the nation’s premier identity theft protection service. IDShield provides consumers with direct access to Kroll’s team of Licensed Private Investigators to help them protect against identity theft and to quickly restore their identities in the event that they are compromised by a national breach such as the one involving the IRS.
However, not all identity theft occurs online. The Social Security Administration has reported that thieves even dig into trash to steal a victim’s Social Security numbers, which they can use to file false tax returns then route false tax refunds to fake bank accounts or a mail drop. As Forbes reports: “Not only do they steal money from the government, but they create an enormous headache for legitimate taxpayers whose IDs they have stolen.”
Bella and John Kennedy know exactly how that headache feels. While they were on vacation, they were notified by their credit card company of some questionable charges. Although they were able to stop those charges immediately, it was not until they came home that they learned that the thieves had also filed false taxes under their name.
“We reached out to LegalShield and Kroll, and they gave us everything we needed to fully restore our identities. Every step of the way, Kroll’s Licensed Private Investigators were there to reassure us and to help us fill out the proper forms with the IRS. More importantly, they gave us peace of mind during this difficult challenge. We are IDShield customers for life!”
Another identity theft victim, Billy Brown, shares a similar story:
“30 days after I filed my taxes, I received a letter from the IRS stating that someone had already filed a tax return in my name and received a $9,000 refund. As a result, I was being audited. Working with the service that is now known as IDShield, I was guided through the restoration process and got the matter resolved with the IRS. Now, I have a 4-digit security code to use when I file my taxes that changes each year to protect me from this ever happening again. The Kroll investigator also placed fraud alerts on my credit reports for added security. IDShield gives me peace of mind and the protection I need.”
Through IDShield, consumers have access to Kroll’s team of expert Licensed Private Investigators with powerful proprietary resources at their fingertips. These investigators are full-time employees who bring valuable insight and experience from a range of backgrounds such as law enforcement, counseling, banking, insurance, debt collection and more.
Matt Kidder is one of these Licensed Private Investigators. In his 12 years of experience in the field, he has helped thousands of people to recover from tax fraud and restore their identities. He offers the following tips to help people protect themselves from IRS scams and tax fraud:
1. Ask Before You Share.
“If you are asked for something sensitive such as a Social Security Number (SSN), ask why it is needed and what systems are in place to protect it.”
2. Protect your PC.
“Keep security software on your computer devices, and keep it updated. Think of it like locking the doors and windows of your house to protect who and what is inside.”
3. Secure Personal Items.
“Theft of physical items like purses, wallets and documents thrown in the trash are still tactics used by identity thieves.”
4. Check Your Default Settings.
“Privacy is not the default setting on social sites, which will likely make most of your information accessible. Change the settings to the level of privacy that you feel comfortable with. Also, do not share too much about yourself – just because a profile form has blanks that can be filled, that doesn’t mean you have to provide that info.”
5. Be Skeptical.
“A healthy dose of suspicion can be good for you sometimes! Do not respond to an unsolicited email that requests your private or sensitive information, or those where you are directed to a website via an embedded link. Creative thieves can make messages and webpages look authentic.”
6. Watch the Wifi.
“A thief can sit near a popular Wi-Fi location such as a coffee shop and set up a fake hotspot. Any unprotected data sent over a fake Wi-Fi network can be saved to the thief’s computer. Use a virtual private network (VPN) connection whenever possible.”
LegalShield has provided legal protection to millions of people for more than 40 years and has provided identity theft protection for 15 years with Kroll . Today, IDShield protects the identities of more than a million people in 50 states and 4 Canadian provinces.
I personally received a call this week from a phone scammer! These thieves were out to steal my credit card numbers by stating they were my credit card provider company, and for security purposes needed me to verify my credit card number. They had my name, phone number (obviously), expiration date, and the last 4 digits of my credit card. What they did not have were the other 12 digits of my card(s). For verification and security purposed they asked me to provide the full credit card number. Thankfully, a red flag immediately went up in my mind, and I stated. “If you are my provider credit card company, then for verification and security purposes YOU PROVIDE my credit card numbers!”
Because I have LegalShield and IDShield services and protection, I immediately opened my LegalShield app on my phone and pushed the link to call my private investigator at Kroll.
My Kroll private investigator reminded me, “Never provide your card number or any other personally identifiable information over the phone unless you are the one who made the call.” He also made a note on my account and assured me that they were on top of monitoring my identity.
If you receive one of these calls, or get an automated call/voice or text message, remember the following advice:
1. Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers often have the capability to mask their call information, which is known as spoofing.
2. Don’t share your personally identifiable information (PII). If you are already doing business with the company represented, they should already have all of your information.
3. Don’t react too quickly. It’s very important to remain calm, even if you think you are about to lose a service or if you think a punitive action is about to be taken.
4. DO NOT press one or wait on the line for a live person – these scam operations do not acknowledge the Do Not Call list and your response may lead to more scam calls.
5. DO NOT call back the number provided or click on any website hyperlinks. Instead, independently verify that the message was sent by a legitimate source by visiting the company website, calling customer service directly, or some other form of contact, as long as it is initiated by you.
6. Your service provider may be able to block the incoming telephone number, but keep in mind there are limitations to this service – scammers frequently use multiple numbers, and there are many telephone scams running at any given time.
7. You should report your experience to the FTC directly on their website. For scams involving the IRS, you should also use the IRS’ own form here.
Overall, Kroll’s advice is simple: “If you find yourself in any of these situations, DO NOT release any personally identifiable information; hang up.”
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said, “The breach, which affected two years worth of records,occurred at Experian, the vendor that processes T-Mobile’s credit applications.”
“The investigation is ongoing, but what we know right now is that the hacker acquired the records of approximately 15 million people, including new applicants requiring a credit check for service or device financing from September 1, 2013
through September 16, 2015,” Legere wrote.
Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year. IDShieldprovides privacy and security monitoring, consultation, and Comprehensive Identity Restoration from Kroll. So in the unfortunate event something does happen to your identity, you’ll have professional help in getting your identity restored to what it was before the fraud occurred. To ensure you have the best coverage possible, there is an IDShield Family plan that includes you, your spouse/partner, and up to 8 children.
The report, conducted by the statistics branch of the Justice Department, determined the number of instances of attempted and successful use of personal banking, credit card, and other types of account information for fraudulent purposes like “obtaining government benefits or providing false information to police during a crime or traffic stop.”
Shielding your private information with no risk of a breakdown may be impossible these days. But there are some simple ways to protect you from becoming a victim of Identity Theft. Listed below are some simple, but very important, tips to protect you and your name.
Debbie and I have spent the last 26 years, of our 31 years of marriage, serving families. We have ministered to families in a variety of ways including spiritual counsel, finances and family budget planning, parental coaching, child development, insurance consultation, and most recently we added to our services identity theft,legal services, and small business benefits As you can see, we really do care about serving families!
Therefore, we decided to bring all of these services under one name called Cannon Risk Management Solutions. Our mission at CRMS is to protect your family, finances, and your future! We offer a variety of solutions to help you minimize your risk and exposure, thus protecting your family, finances, and your future!
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Children are 51 times more likely to have their identity stolen than adults! So identity theft for children does happen, and here’s why: Children’s credit reports are clean. That’s attractive to people who want to begin their financial lives anew for any number of reasons. Plus, minors don’t check their credit reports or review monthly bills the way grown-ups do, which means thieves may not get caught for years or even decades. Thieves sometimes use children’s Social Security numbers and other data to file fake tax returns and get illegitimate refunds, gain access to health care and work legally even if they are not citizens.
So what are the ways to keep private data private that are within our control? Don’t carry around Social Security cards. Keep them under lock and key at home. Keep your child’s date of birth off social media. Talk to your offspring about where to click and not to click on websites and in incoming email. Question school officials and doctors who want children’s Social Security numbers for forms, as it may not truly be necessary.
“Social Security numbers are like money in the bank, and thieves don’t need to use them at any specific moment in history,” he said. “You’re going to have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life.”
For peace of mind, get identity theft protection for you and your family! IDShield provides privacy and security monitoring, consultation, and Comprehensive Identity Restoration from Kroll. So in the unfortunate event something does happen to your identity, you’ll have professional help in getting your identity restored to what it was before the fraud occurred. To ensure you have the best coverage possible, there is an IDShield Family plan that includes you, your spouse/partner, and up to 8 children.
For as little as $19.95 a month you can have the peace of mind that you and your family are protected from identity theft. Visit joncannon.co to get your protection today! Watch this video to learn more.