Is Student Data at Risk Due to Out-of-Date Privacy Laws

February 25th, 2015

Check out this article that raises concerns about the safety of student’s personal information.
It examines the need for law makers to tighten up the laws to place restrictions on how student’s information is used and to ensure it is not used by third parties for illegitimate advertising purposes.

Click here to read the whole article.

How To Protect Your Childern From Identity Theft

February 17th, 2015

Children can be excellent targets for identity theft since it may not be discovered for many years.

Here are a few tips for helping to protect your child’s social security number.

* You can check if your child has a credit report. Hopefully they don’t! A child does not have a credit report until their social security number is used to apply for credit. Since a child doesn’t have a credit report, a fraud alert can’t be added to their social security number. However, there are several services that offer credit monitoring that will alert you if your child’s information was used in an attempt to get credit. Check with the major credit bureaus to see which service is best for you.

* Make sure to monitor your child’s online activity on social media sites and when making online purchases.

* Educate your child by teaching them the importance of keeping their personal information private – social security #, last name, address, etc.

*Make them aware of “phishing” and scam emails and teach them to delete these emails.

* Don’t allow your children to carry their social security card with them.

* If you are asked for your child’s social security number be sure to ask these three questions: Why is it needed? Is there another way to identify my child? How will my child’s information be protected?

*Shred all personal information using a cross cut shredder.

* Never use your child’s Social Security number to open account for your benefit. It will only hurt them in the long run.

How to know if your child’s identity might have been stolen:

* Your child receives mail such as pre-approved credit card offers and other financial offers only sent to adults.

* You try to open an account for your child and learn one already exist.

* An application is denied because of a poor credit history

* A credit report already exists in your child’s name. A credit report only exists if an application for credit or credit account has been filed

If you think your child’s identity has been compromised be sure to contact the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Consider requesting a credit freeze.

Contact the businesses where your child’s credit was misused.

File a report with the police department and continue to monitor their credit.

Check out these links for more information on keeping your child’s identity safe.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/05/19/3-ways-to-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft

http://www.equifax.com/specs/child-identity-protection-kit/child-kit.pdf

http://www.transunion.com/childidentitytheft

3 Tips to Keeping Your Email From Being Hacked

February 4th, 2015

If your email has ever been hacked you know how annoying it is to notify your contacts and possibly change your email address. It is also scary to think someone has gained access to your personal information. Hacking personal emails is the fastest way for criminals to gain access to your financial information. YIKES!

Try these three tips to protect your email and personal information.

Make up fake answers to security questions. Social media can make it easy to find out maiden names and birthplaces.

Have a secret email address that you only use for financial institutions and bill paying.

Use different passwords for each account and make sure they are at least 10 characters long and contain numbers, symbols and both upper and lowercase letters.

Check out the full article here.

Banks Still Using Social Security Numbers To Identify Bank Account Infomation

January 28th, 2015

It’s incredible that banks still use social security numbers as a means of identifying account information. With all that is known about identity theft banks should know better to not use this information in such a way. Criminals can use social security numbers and addresses to compromise account information in an “account turnover”. Although social security numbers are needed to open accounts the information should not be used beyond that point and would be beneficial for everyone, banks and customers if this were the case.
As of last year, only five of the largest banks prohibit the use of social security numbers for identification purposes. Those five are Comerica, Regions Bank, TD Bank, U.S. Bank and Union Bank. According to the report, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citibank, continue to use Social Security numbers.

Read the whole story here.

3 Cyber Threats to Fear in 2015: Are You at Risk?

January 12th, 2015

Each year comes with a fresh start, a new outlook, a year full of new possibilities. The new year also comes with new risks. As technology advances so does the risk.

Here are the three potentially biggest threats for 2015:

Do you wear a fit band or use fitness tracker? Entering, recording and storing your personal and health information can put you at risk for your information to be compromised. Just keep in mind, if it is stored electronically hackers could potentially steal your information.

Cyber Criminals will likely continue to strike systems that contain payment data. Malware designed to steal credit and debit card information remains a threat.

Government-sponsored attacks such as the attack against Sony Pictures suspected by North Korea are on the radar this year. Protecting yourself and business against malware continues to be the best defense.

Check out the source

Re Post: A Good Reference to When Its Safe to Shred your Documents

January 7th, 2015

Here is a repost from a helpful blog posted last year. With New Year’s resolutions to get organized this is a good reference.

Most people, when asked, say they save their documents and files for seven years. This time frame is a good rule of thumb. But, where on earth can one store SEVEN years worth of documents? Between bills, tax documents, pay stubs, medical records, credit card statements, and other personal information that’s a lot of paper to file and retain for SEVEN whole years. So, when is it safe to shred?

Here is a good guide to follow.

How Long to Keep Documents

Tax documents: Keep tax returns, as well as supporting documents like W-2 forms, receipts, and real estate closing statements for seven years. The IRS may audit you within three years if it suspects good-faith errors; six years if it believes you underreported your income by at least 25%; and unlimited time if you did not file a return or filed a fraudulent one.

Investment Records: Keep as long as you own the securities, plus another seven years. You’ll need them to prove capital gains and losses.
Bank Statements – One month. You just need these long enough to check the accuracy of the transactions. Unless the statement is your only record for a tax-related transaction, there’s no need to keep them longer. Plus, your bank will have them available online.
Retirement Plan Statements –Most, one year, for tax purposes. Keep Roth IRA statements until you retire, to prove you already paid tax on your contributions.
Credit card statements Shred immediately after checking the accuracy of the transactions. These documents are a prime source for identity theft. Unless the statement is your only record for a tax-related transaction, there’s no need to keep them longer. Plus, your issuer will have them available online.
Paychecks – One year, until you receive your W-2.
Bills – One year, for tax purposes.
W-2 Forms – Until you begin claiming Social Security. They’re the best estimate of your earnings and entitlements.

When it comes time to shred, make sure to find a reputable company, one that has good reviews and uses industrial shredders to ensure safe shredding of your personal documents. Home shredders usually only shred papers into strips, making it easy for motivated thief’s to reconstruct the documents.

Check out the source here

Declutter your home in 30 Days: Take the Challenge

December 30th, 2014

Has decluttering your home been on you To-Do for the past 12 months? Finding the time to start a new project can seem so overwhelming. Its difficult enough getting through the daily chores. Try this 30 day challenge to get you on your way to a fresher, clutter-free home!

Click here for printable 30 day challenge.

How to Keep Your Identity Safe This Holiday Season

December 24th, 2014

Make sure you are keeping your identity safe this holiday season. Check out this article and follow these tips.

Target is taking a no harm no foul defense in its data breach case

December 17th, 2014

Target customers may not be receiving anything for the aggravation resulting from epic data breach. Other court decisions have found that the mere risk of identity theft is not enough to award customers and client with damages. A ruling in favor of Target would also benefit such dependents as Home Depot.

Check out the whole story here.

Got Questions? What needs to be shredded and why? We’ve got answers

December 3rd, 2014

Do you have questions about shredding, what needs to be shredded, why it needs to be shredded, HIPAA and compliance laws? We are always able to share information and find answers for you. As a member of NAID, the independent watch dog for the shredding industry, we have access to the most current information and understanding of the law. As it sometimes happens we may not know all the answers. That’s were being a member has benefits. NAID will always help us help you get your answers in clear meaningful terms. So, ask away!