The 8 Easiest (and No-Cost) Steps for a Scam-Free 2017

Identity theft is hard, but preventing it doesn’t have to be. Although some threats like data breaches are beyond your control, here are eight easy, no-cost ways to help scam-proof yourself in the New Year. Weed your wallet. Nearly half of all known-cause cases of identity theft start with a lost or stolen wallet. Reduce risk with some 2017 billfold cleaning by removing your Social Security card, cheat sheets noting PINs or passwords for bank cards or online accounts, blank …

New Trends in Credit Card Fraud

Despite stability in the number of victims and losses last year, the ways that credit card fraud occurs have changed. With the switch to chip-enabled EMV cards in 2015, identity thieves are moving from cloning counterfeits of that existing plastic and, instead, are focusing on opening new fraudulent accounts with stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive data. In its 2016 Identity Fraud Study, Javelin Strategy & Research reports that new-account fraud more than doubled in 2015 from the previous …

The 25 Worst Passwords: Is Yours on the List?

If you recently changed your password to “starwars” in honor of the blockbuster movie, congratulations. Your new password is among the world’s worst — or rather, one of the most hackable. That’s according to SplashData, a password management company, which studies millions of breaches to come up with an annual list of the most common and easily exploitable passwords. No. 1 on the list for two years in a row is “123456.” Again in second place: “password.” Other perennials on …

Scam-Proof 2016 With These 7 Simple Steps

Happy New Year! Start 2016 on the right foot, with these simple steps to reduce your risk of scams: Freeze your credit file. The best way to proactively prevent identity theft (as well as minimize damage after it occurs), a credit freeze restricts access to your credit report. Without being able to review it, most creditors won’t issue loans, credit cards or other credit in your name – helpful when your personal data falls into the wrong hands, whether resulting from …

Cyber Aware? Know the Top Internet Scams

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and no doubt you’re fully aware of what happened to Target, Home Depot and scores of other companies that were victims of cyber attacks. Those big-brand data breaches certainly make news. But what really hits home? The cyber scams that don’t generate headlines yet result in the most reports and complaints to the National Consumers League and other watchdog groups. So along with the often-preached mantras that warrant repeating this month — use …

Back to School? Parents, Be on Guard for Student ID Theft

With the kids returning to school, you’ve earned a sigh of relief. But don’t breathe too easy just yet. From elementary through high school, students are 51 times more likely than their parents to be victims of identity theft. College students are ideal (and common) targets — and when hit, they lose more money and take longer to discover their identity theft than any other age group. And with forms, dorms and other threats, a new school year is especially …