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What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Friday, September 15, 2017

What you need to know about the Equifax Data Breach:

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.

This is just the latest example of how, no matter how careful you are, there are forces beyond your control that can still lead to your personally identifiable information being exposed.

At IDShield, we know how stressful data breaches are, and we are here to help.  As a member, please know:

  • You have full access to our dedicated and experienced licensed private investigators to ask any questions and get help if you are worried that you are a victim of fraud.
  • You have proactive credit monitoring through Experian and will be alerted if there are any changes to their credit report.

If you are not a member of IDShield, there are still steps that you can take to provide an extra layer of security.

  • First, set up a fraud alert. This will reduce the chance of a fraudster opening a credit or loan account in your name. If you place the alert with one bureau, they will ensure its placed on the other bureaus as well. Fraud alerts last for 90 days, but can be renewed. You can search online for placing a fraud alert and select one of the main bureaus to set it up through. To sign up via Experian, use this link: https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html. To sign up via TransUnion, use this link: https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert.
  • Second, be diligent. Don't give out your personal information if it sounds fishy. IDShield members, if you're unsure, this is a great time to call your licensed private investigator for advice!
  • Third, change your passwords for online banking and other finance accounts. This will reduce the risk of your money or assets being moved fraudulently. As you change your password, use your IDShield Vault password manager to generate a new strong password!

And of course, if you don’t yet have IDShield, this is a great time to sign up for comprehensive identity protection and full service, white glove restoration. Visit www.idshield.com to learn more!

 

I'm here to help, so please do not hesitant to contact me!

Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield / IDShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

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Tags:  data breach  financial  financing  fradulent  fraud  hackers  identity protection  law  lawyer  Legal  legal advice  legal services  legalshield  lending  loans 

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America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Saturday, April 8, 2017

America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

by David Coffey, Opinion Contributor - 3/31/17

 

Unfortunately, Americans are now familiar with identity theft, from having experienced it themselves or personally knowing a victim of this insidious crime.

The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. Of the 3.1 million complaints received in 2015, 16 percent were related to identity theft, which represented an increase by more than 47 percent from 2014. In fact, identity theft is reported as America’s No. 7 fear — before economic collapse and right after biowarfare.

This is not at all the case in Europe. Except for the U.K., our neighbors across the Atlantic barely know about identity theft. There are a number of systemic reasons for this happier situation, and some of them should inspire our policymakers here in the U.S.

Identity theft starts with the misappropriation of a victim’s personal identifiers. I am sure that none of the readers of this article would ever write their home address or license plate number on their set of keys. Then, by the same logic, why would they be okay with having their identity’s safety rely on a single all-purpose identifier?

Just like an armored door is built with numerous reinforced key points, an identity should be protected via the combination of more than one identifier. This is common sense. Unfortunately, this is not how our system works — and the culprit is our social security numbers (SSNs).

SSNs were created in 1936 to keep track of the earnings history of U.S. workers for Social Security benefit computation purposes. Their purpose was limited. Today, SSNs have become the national identifier used by both the government and the private sector as a way to identify and gather information about an individual’s financial life.

Efforts have been undertaken to curb this expansion, from legislation such as the prohibition of displaying the SSN on driver's licenses or motor vehicle registrations, to recommendations including the President's Identity Theft Task Force asking that federal agencies reduce the unnecessary use of SSNs, which they called “the most valuable commodity for an identity thief,” and the FTC’s plea to private entities to find better ways to authenticate identities.

Despite these efforts, SSNs still reign unchallenged. An identity thief only needs to get his or her hands on the 9-digit number, which is registered in many places, to steal a person’s identity and wreak havoc in their lives, from opening fraudulent credit card accounts to filing fake tax returns and more. But in Europe, social security numbers are used for retirement benefits only. An identity thief would need a person’s national ID number, which appears in very few places, and banks often additionally require a copy of a passport or identity card to prove an identity.

Once the fraudster has gone to the trouble of acquiring these precious personal identifiers, he’ll want to make money off it. And what better way than to gain access to the victim’s bank account? In America, where the use of credit cards is largely accepted, the damage an identity thief can cause is immense, because it is not limited to the amount of money present is the victim’s bank account when the theft occurs. A huge sum of credit card debt can be amassed by a thief on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, the majority of Europeans use debit cards, which limits the losses one would endure. What’s more, the United States is one of the last countries to still use magnetic strips which are easy to replicate and therefore more liable to identity theft. European countries use a system called EMV, which adds a security layer in the form of a PIN to credit card purchases.

Part of the shift to cards embedded with an electronic chip to greatly boost security, the PIN system was introduced in the U.S. starting in 2013, but despite the liability shift — entailing that retailers who do not buy the technology used to authenticate transactions be held accountable for any fraud that occur in their store — only 37 percent of U.S. stores now accept chip cards.

It will take some time for banks to update all of their ATMs. Besides, thieves have already found a way around it: they simply create a new bank account under the victim’s name, or make purchases online where the PIN number is not required.

At the end of the day, protecting oneself and one’s family from identity theft requires each of us to take decisive steps. Control your personal identifiers closely. Sign up for monitoring of your accounts, so you’ll get a warning of unusual activity. Finally, if your identity is stolen, be prepared to have a private investigator take the necessary steps to restore your identity to its pre-theft status.

Dave Coffey is senior vice president and chief digital officer of LegalShield, a leading provider of protection against identity theft solutions.

 

Kenyatta Turner, MM
Independent Associate | Executive Director
Business Solutions | Employee Benefits
www.kenyattaturner.com | (602) 367-1069 
 

Tags:  Employee Benefits  fradulent  fraud  identity protection  identity theft  Legal  legalshield  mobile apps 

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How To Detect Fraudulent Activity on Your Merchant Account

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, July 23, 2015

Credit card fraud is on the rise as thieves develop even more inventive ways of stealing financial data for unauthorized purchases. The introduction of EMV credit cards is helping to prevent fraudulent activity within brick-and-mortar retail environments. However, in the online world, the security features that come with these chip-enabled cards offer limited protection.

As a result, experts predict that Web-based credit card fraud could reach $6.4 billion by 2018.

Some payment processors offer fraud protection to help limit your liability. Though a far more cost-effective solution is to prevent credit card fraud from happening in the first place. Because even when charges are reversed, you still pay a price in terms of:

  • Lost time
  • Extra paperwork
  • Diminished consumer confidence

These hidden costs are sometimes three times more than the dollar amount of whatever fraud took place.

Below are some best practices you can adopt to limit the amount of fraud that occurs within your payment environment:

1. Basic Fraud Detection Steps

"Card not present" transactions are the norm in e-commerce. You simply have to trust that the true holder of the card is authorizing each transaction. However, you can still ask for information that potential hackers might not have, including:

Address Verification

In addition to the 16-digit credit card number, you should also request a working address for each transaction. More specifically, you should verify the following:

  • Does the billing address match the contact information provided by the card-issuing bank?
  • Is the customer trying to use a different shipping address (if ordering physical items)?

 

Card Verification Value (CVV)

Most consumer credit cards come with a three or four-digit value that allows you to verify whether the card is truly present. Don’t authorize any transactions unless the customer can provide the correct CVV code.

2. Country-Specific Transactions

With more advanced payment processing solutions, you can use country-specific IP filters to block or accept certain transactions:

Geo IP Tracking

This option allows you to automatically reject transactions from whichever countries you choose. For example, you can eliminate all purchases made from France, Japan or Canada.

Card Issuing Country

With "card issuing country" filters, you have even greater control. This feature allows you to only accept a payment if the card was issued in countries that you specifically select. For example, your account only allows purchases made with French, Japanese or Canadian credit cards.

3. Advanced Fraud Detection Features

There are times when thieves do have the right address and CVV code, and using proxies, they can circumvent traditional IP-detection.

This is when you need to rely on more advanced security features:

Negative Database Security

Similar to spam detection, negative database security allows you to match each transaction against a list of high-risk card numbers and contact information.

Quotas and Thresholds

Set up your payment environment to only accept transactions above and below a certain amount. Anything outside of this range automatically gets rejected.

Unusual Buying Patterns

Limit the number of transactions that can take place within a certain timeframe. With some "velocity" filters, you can even flag certain IP addresses and dollar amounts to gain more control.

Paused Transactions

Using a variety of filters, you can automatically put a hold on suspicious transactions. This is particularly useful for big-ticket items — especially when dealing with conveniently round numbers. Don't let these transactions go through until you've had a chance to contact the cardholder directly.

Looking for More Fraud Detection Tips?

At BluePay, we specialize in online payment security. With our advanced processing solutions, we can help you detect and prevent online fraud before it happens.

To learn more, schedule a free appointment with our payment security team today.

Tags:  financing  fradulent  MERCHANT SERVICES  protection 

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