Blog Posts by John Sileo

  • Discover – and Recover from Identity Theft in 2010

    Since you can't protect yourself 100% from identity theft, make sure that you Monitor the Signs! Heading into a new year people make many resolutions that they may or make not stick with, but protecting your identity should always be a top priority. Here are three effective tips to help discover and recover quickly if you become the victim of identity theft:

    1. Create a Dossier - A dossier is a collection of documents that are stored in a fire-safe and that you regularly review and update. It is a paper summary of your identity as the outside world sees it (businesses, organizations and governments). It is made up of several key documents: your credit report, bank and credit card statements, Social Security statement, wallet photocopies and your password list.

    Virtually any of your vital documents could be included in your dossier as well (birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc.). A dossier is a place where you can quickly access a complete record of your vital

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  • Scrooge’s Top 5 Holiday ID Theft Protection Tips

    "Might I have another lump of coal for the fire, Mr. Scrooge?"
    -Bob Cratchit (Dickens' A Christmas Carol)

    What in the world do we have to learn from Ebenezer Scrooge about protecting our identities during the busy holiday season? Plenty!

    Scrooge was a miserly old git who wouldn't share anything - his coal, his wealth, his love. The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future scared him into realizing that giving generously is what the holidays (and life) are all about. But the ghosts forgot to mention that as he donated his wealth, paid for Tiny Tim's medical care and purchased gifts for all of London, he should continue to be miserly with his personal information!

    Distraction is our worst enemy. During the holidays, in addition to spending more money, we tend to be busier, more stressed-out and less careful than other times of the year. Identity thieves take advantage of our distraction to perform information extraction. In the spirit of Charles Dickens, here

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  • Travel Safety: Protect Your Identity

    By John Sileo

    Traveling safety has become a study of its own ever since the advent of identity theft. Your biggest concern may no longer be physical in nature (pickpockets, hotel theft, muggings); the value of the personal identity you carry as you travel is worth far more than the cash in your wallet.

    We all love to plan the vacation of our dreams. But there's one area we often overlook that can turn that long-anticipated dinner into a nightmare - the theft of our most-valuable asset, our identity. Let's fast forward - we've savored the last bite of pasta and drained our pitcher of the vino rosso locale before presenting our credit card.

    Our friendly waiter looks concerned as he walks back to our table to tell us that our credit card has been declined. It doesn't take us long to discover a thief has maxed out our credit and there is nothing left to pay for our dream. If we're lucky, we'll have a backup plan and pay by cash or another credit card. If we

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  • Cell Phone Tapping: Are You at Risk?

    Recently I met two soldiers who alerted me to the new security risk of Cell Phone Tapping. SigInt (or signal interception) has long been a part of warfare and espionage. But the possibilities erupt with the advent of cell phone tapping. Imagine the conversation of a soldier being overheard by the enemy - deployment details, troop locations, command structure, strategic and tactical information. The prospect is terrifying for our national security.

    This week, I was asked to help with a case of domestic abuse: the husband had installed Cell Phone Tapping Software (like computer spyware or keyloggers) on his wife's phone prior to their divorce. During the divorce proceedings, he listened to every conversation, read every email and text sent from her phone, and could even control her calendar and applications (thanks to iPhone Tapping Software). Because of GPS tracking, he always knew where she was. When she switched to a new phone number and iPhone, iTunes must have synced the

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  • Protect Your Laptop: 7 Tips for Travelers

    By John Sileo

    Laptop anti-theft, or protecting your mobile data, is a MUST for corporations and consumers. Almost half of workplace identity theft takes place because of mobile data. And the average value of the data on your laptop can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a corporate spy or experienced identity thief. At the higher end of the scale, the value of the 26 million Veteran identities on a laptop lost over a year ago was estimated to be worth more than $100 million. Those are the types of computer security risks that can make your business unprofitable. But there are solutions.

    Broken Window Theory: By removing graffiti and repairing broken windows in crime hot-spots throughout New York City, the NYPD was able to drastically reduce the entire city's overall crime rate (not just the quantity of graffiti and broken windows), including thefts, burglaries, muggings and murders. In other words, certain actions that we take (e.g., focusing on

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  • Protect Your Child's Identity

    By John Sileo

    Are you as protective of your kids as I am of mine?

    My wife and two highly-spirited daughters are more than just the center of my universe - they are the compass by which I set my course in every aspect of life. If something is not good for the family, then it isn't good for me. And that means that I want to do everything in my power to keep them safe.

    You and I are called on to protect our children from many things, starting in the womb. Even before they are born, we practice good preventative care. We take specially designed pre-natal exercise classes, coax ourselves to eat right for their benefit, learn CPR and Love and Logic and screen regularly for signs of trouble. Once they are born, we provide the best nourishment, the finest medical care, ample playtime, rest and an infinite flow of unconditional love. You get the point… we do everything in our power to prevent complications and to give them the best chance to grow up

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