Identity theft is a serious crime that can have a devastating impact on your finances and your life. When someone steals your personal information, they can use it to open new accounts in your name, run up debts, and damage your credit score.
A low credit score makes it difficult to get approved for loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. It can also make it more expensive to borrow money, as you will likely have to pay higher interest rates. A low credit score also makes it difficult to rent an apartment, get a job, or even get insurance.
How Identity Theft Can Ruin Your Credit
There are many ways that identity thieves can ruin your credit. Here are a few examples:
- They can open new accounts in your name and not make payments. When payments are not made it leads to collections, and even bankruptcy.
- They can max out your existing credit cards. Maxed out credit cards will damage your credit score.
- They can change the address on your accounts so that you don’t receive important billing information. This can lead to missed payments and further damage to your credit score.
- They can file for bankruptcy in your name. Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it very difficult to get approved for credit.
The Impact of a Low Credit Score
A low credit score can have a major impact on your life. Here are a few examples:
- You may not be able to get approved for a loan to buy a car or a home.
- You may have to pay higher interest rates on credit cards and loans.
- You may have difficulty renting an apartment or getting a job.
- You may have difficulty getting insurance.
- You may be denied a job promotion or a scholarship.
The Emotional Impact of Identity Theft
Yes identity Theft Can Ruin Your Credit and Your Life, having a significant emotional impact on victims as well. Victims may experience feelings of anger, anxiety, stress, and depression. They may also feel violated, betrayed, and helpless.
According to a study by the Identity Theft Resource Center, 70% of identity theft victims experience emotional distress. The study also found that victims are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than people who have not been victims of identity theft.
If you are a victim of identity theft, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. Talking to someone about what you are going through can help you to cope with the emotional impact of the crime.
- 70% of identity theft victims experience emotional distress.
- Victims are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and PTSD than people who have not been victims of identity theft.
- The average victim of identity theft spends 200 hours and $1,700 to recover from the crime.
- It can take up to 7 years to fully recover from identity theft.
Take Action Today
Identity theft is a serious crime, but it is one that you can protect yourself from. By taking the necessary steps to protect your personal information and monitoring your credit reports regularly, you can help keep your credit score safe and your finances secure.
Don’t let identity theft ruin your credit and your life. Take action today to protect yourself!
If you are a victim of identity theft, here are a few places to start:
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): 1-877-438-4338
- The Identity Theft Resource Center: 1-888-400-5530
- The National Association of Consumer Advocates: 1-800-644-7222
Wifi Safety: Don’t Fall for This Sneaky Trick! Do you use public WiFi? It’s a handy way to stay online while you’re out and about. But be careful! There’s a new trick called WiFi jacking that can steal your info.
Bad guys use a special tool to sneak into public WiFi networks. They can get into your phone and take your personal stuff. This is a big problem, but we can protect ourselves.
WiFi Jacking: A Sneaky Trick Crooks use a strong antenna to do WiFi jacking. They aim it at public WiFi spots and take info from people who are connected. They can grab things like passwords and credit card numbers.
This is really bad because they can use your info to do bad stuff like stealing money or pretending to be you. We need to be careful when we’re on public WiFi.
WiFi Jacking vs. Man-in-the-Middle WiFi jacking sounds like another trick called Man-in-the-Middle. But they’re a bit different.
WiFi jacking steals info from WiFi networks. Man-in-the-Middle attacks mess up conversations between two people online. Both are bad, but WiFi jacking is more about taking info from wireless networks.
Watch Out for Risks WiFi jacking is a problem because it tricks us on public WiFi. We think we’re safe, but the bad guys are listening. We have to be smart and keep our stuff safe.
Here’s what you can do:
- Use Safe WiFi: Pick trusted networks, not ones with strange names.
- Try VPNs: These make a secret path for your info so bad guys can’t take it.
- Use 2FA: Add an extra step when you log in, like a special code sent to your phone.
- Check Websites: Look for “https://” and a lock symbol when you visit a site. That is an indication that it’s safe.
- Update Stuff: Keep your phone and apps up to date. This helps stop bad guys.
Stay Safe and Smart WiFi jacking is a problem, but we can beat it. Connect smartly, use a VPN, try 2FA, and watch out for weird stuff online. Let’s make sure our info stays safe and keep having fun online!
Wifi Safety: Don’t Fall for This Sneaky Trick!
John Iannarelli, former FBI Special Agent offers 4 SMB Cybersecurity tips. Is your business safe from the cybersecurity threat?
According to the Allianz Risk Barometer for 2020, cyber incidents ranked as the number one business risk in its ninth annual survey of risk experts.
Based on the above, I just interviewed former FBI Special Agent John Iannarelli (http://fbijohn.com/) in between his national television appearances on Fox News and Fox Business.
Mr. Iannarelli retired from the FBI after more than 20 years of service, during which time he was the FBI’s National Spokesperson, on the FBI Cyber Division executive staff, an FBI SWAT team member, and the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Phoenix Division, where he oversaw all Criminal, Cyber, and Counter Intelligence investigations throughout Arizona.
Since leaving the FBI, Mr. Iannarelli is an active contributor for national news outlets, keynote speaker, author, and security consultant.
I asked Mr. Iannarelli for simple advice on how to keep small businesses safer in 2020. Here are his 4 cybersecurity tips for small businesses and sole proprietors:
“Maintaining a strong firewall, keeping your security software up to date, and the patching of vulnerable software is critical”, said Iannarelli. He also said, “The restoration of your computer files from a backup is the fastest way to safely regain access to your data.” Mr. Iannarelli recommends “to not pay the ransom as there is no guarantee that you will be able to regain access to your files and that once you pay the cybercriminals they are likely to attack again.”
Hackers steal consumer data from devices connected to unsecured networks by positioning themselves between you and the connection point. This means that instead of talking directly with the hotspot, you end up sending your data to the hacker. Mr. Iannarelli recommends “use of VPN encryption to help prevent cybercriminals from hacking into your Wi–Fi connection and intercepting the data you send and receive.”
Vendor Due Diligence
According to the Ponemon Institute, third-party breaches remain a dominant security challenge for small and large businesses. Over 63% of data breaches are linked to a third party. He said, “Small businesses should establish information security and governance best practices including a data breach and incident response policy and plan.”. A plan will protect your business, help win new business, and elevate your due diligence profile.
State and Federal Notification Laws
Since the United States does not have a Federal Privacy law. Mr. Iannarelli stated“understanding current state privacy laws where your small business conducts business is critical to responding to a data breach event in a timely and effective manner.”
If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.
By Mark Pribish
Vice President and ID Theft Practice Leader
In the recently released 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), Verizon found that 43% of breaches affect small businesses and that a third (32%) of breaches involved phishing, a form of social engineering.
Verizon built this report upon the analysis of 41,686 security incidents and 2,013 confirmed data breaches, the Verizon DBIR digs into the overall threat landscape, the actors, actions, and assets that are present in breaches.
The 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) Key Takeaways (please see here) highlights 12 key takeaways including:
- Financial gain remains the most common motivate behind data breaches (71%)
- 43% of breaches affect small businesses
- A third (32%) of breaches involved phishing
- The nation-state threat is increasing, with 23% of breaches by nation-state actors
- More than half (56%) of data breaches took months or longer to discover
- Ransomware remains a major threat and is the second most common type of malware reported
- Criminals increasingly target Business Executives with social engineering attacks.
- Crypto-mining malware accounts for less than 5% of data breaches, despite the publicity it didn’t make the top ten malware listed in the report
- Espionage is a key motivation behind a quarter of data breaches
- 60 million records breached due to misconfigured cloud service buckets
- Continued reduction in payment card point of sale breaches
- The hacktivist threat remains low, the increase in the DBIR 2012 report appears to be a one-off spike
An interesting takeaway:
Cyber attackers target the network, where executives are “six times more likely to be a target of social engineering than they were only a year ago; and, C-level executives are 12 times more likely to be the target.”
This means that Business Email Compromises (BEC) are proving successful for ID theft criminals and cyber thieves.
Verizon stated that BEC breaches represented 248 (18%) confirmed breaches out of the 2,013 confirmed data breaches. In addition, Risk-Based Security recently announced the release of its Q1 2019 Data Breach QuickView Report highlighting how over 1,900 data breach events — exposing over 1.9 billion records — were reported in the first three months on 2019.
According to Risk Based Security, “no other first quarter has seen this level of activity, putting 2019 on pace to be yet another ‘worst year on record’ for the number of publicly reported breaches.”
The report found “that 67.6% of records compromised in Q1 were due to exposure of sensitive data on the Internet.”
If you are a small business, considering Identity Theft Protection as an Employee Benefit or a breach readiness and response program is worth considering!