‘Tis the (Identity Theft) Season – Watch Out!

Riding shotgun alongside the huge increase in shopping (both online and in stores), the crazy schedules many keep, and the increased communication between friends and family is one major hassle that no one deserves – to have your identity stolen. The identity thieves are keenly aware of how our behavior changes, when our guard is down, and when to strike. They prey on our good mood, our giving nature, and the massive avalanche of commerce and communication taking place that no one seems to be able to manage. A great article from Identity Guard highlights the methods used by thieves, some ways to avoid these Grinches, and offers some scary statistics. In just the much sung about twelve days before Christmas, nearly a quarter million Americans will suffer from identity theft.

Just a few of the horrible tricks that you should watch out for:

1.

Trojan Horse viruses in eCards

Evildoers can send out the nicest eCards, but all the while embed them with malware that may hurt you minutes or even months later. They recommend sending links from trusted sites, not attachments.

2.

Great deals on Must Have Gifts

That iPad2 for $99 or other “must have” gifts for far less than other stores just may be too good to be true and a lure to gain your identity. A common trick is to take you all the way to the order screen, get your credit card and shipping info, but then display an out of stock message – after they collect your info!

3.

Checks from Grandma in the Mail

The opportunity to steal checking account details, signatures, etc… skyrocket when our mailboxes are stuffed with thoughtful checks from loved ones. On top of just stealing or altering the check itself, the bad guys now know a lot and can pull other scams with greater effectiveness – like fake calls from the bank using your account number for validity.

4.

Charity Scams

Spoofing the great causes that rely on holiday spirit is a favorite and easily done via the phone but increasingly by email too. Give to those you trust and know.

5.

Data on Replaced Technology

After you unwrap that new laptop, don’t discard your old PC without a proper “scrub” from professional services or software. Erasing files is not enough – the article mentions MIT students who found more than 5,000 credit card numbers on only 158 used hard drives. Corodata hopes that you are prepared personally and professionally, ready to defend confidential and proprietary information and stands ready to help via secure shredding and professional off-site storage of paper and media. Read our 4 Things You Can Do at Work to Prevent ID Theft guide.

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