April 16, 2013 by Carsen
First we want to say our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families who were affected by the recent blast in Boston. There are no words to describe how sad this situation is.
It is amazing to see the support from people across the globe looking to find a way to help. While we encourage charitable donations, you do need to be aware of scams out there. It is absolutely horrible that some try to capitalize and scam during these situations, but we have already seen several tactics.
Both organizations and individuals need to be sure they know and understand where their donations are going and remain secure. There have been many reports of fake websites, sales of domain names, as well as false social media claims. Here are a three examples:
MSN reported that there was a Twitter account that claimed to be providing $1 for Boston Marathon victims for every retweet. This account was brand new, had limited tweets and followers. Those are signs of scams.
There have been phone calls for “Donations for the Boston Explosion.” If you get such a call kindly decline, report the caller and donate at your trusted source. Many claim to be receiving funds, but how do you know who is really on the other line?
This excerpt comes from The Domains blog:
“There are now at least 125 domain names that have been recently registered relating to the explosions at the Boston Marathon today and most troubling many that look like charitable domains that can be be used to raise money for the victims.
Over 20 of the domain .com/.net domains registered today sound like they could be used for fundraising efforts for the victims so we need to watch those to make sure they are only used by licensed and regulated charities.
We noted earlier today, just minutes after the reports of the explosions hit the news, domain names related to the bombings were already registered and some parked by people looking to make money off the tragedy. While we don’t know every registrants intention, we do know historically that many of the domain names registered immediately after were done to get traffic and make money parking domains or worse.”
The best way to donate
If you are able and willing to donate to the cause, the best way to give is through verified charitable organizations. Go directly to their websites and call the number they have listed.
April 15, 2013 by Carsen
You may be excited about a tax refund, but be sure your identity is protected
Today is the exciting IRS Tax filing deadline, and while you may be focused on getting your taxes filed, you also need to be aware of possible threats for identity theft during this season. According to the testimony of The Honorable J. Russell George Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as of December 31, 2012, the IRS identified almost 1.8 million incidents of identity theft affecting tax administration during 2012. This is an increase from more than 1 million in 2011.
One possible occurrence of fraud is when you are told that you have already filed or that your information doesn’t match IRS records when you try to file. A person uses your social security number and other personal information to file as you, providing false numbers with an address where they can collect the refund. If this happens, be sure to alert the IRS immediately.This happened to a woman in Utah recently, and this article tells her story as well as provides some tips to stay protected:
Look at your credit report at least once a year. If you see something suspicious, investigate and report it.
Be sure you are going to a trusted facility to prepare your taxes.
Other possible scams
Scam: Emails sent to you can pose as the IRS stating that you forgot to list your social security number or other personal information and request immediate action.
Scam: Email telling you that your “fax” or return didn’t go through, and you need to re-send it to the address listed.
What to do: Do not reply to either email with information. Contact your trusted contact (accountant, personal contact at the IRS) and alert them of the message you received. If there is missing information, they can tell you how to appropriately disclose it.
April 01, 2013 by Carsen
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This April Fool's Day, even the brightest of the bunch will fall for pranks. Don't become a victim of Cyber predators.
TOP 10 ways to become a security fool.
You have probably seen at least one of these methods before. Don't fall for it!
Clicking the link that says you just won $1,000,000. Come on, Really?
Responding to your foreign "friend" who emails you saying you have an unclaimed inheritance
Providing your social security number to the Sweepstakes you have just "won"
Forwarding the picture of a two-headed horse (no one wants to see this anyway)
Making your password for all your accounts QWERTY123 (or password, or monkey, etc.)
Putting your home address, phone number, and every current location on your social profiles
Giving credit card information online in order to receive a "free" gift in the mail
Inserting an unknown device into your work or home computer
Posting confidential business information on your social sites
Leaving your work computer unattended, unlocked, and logged in
For more information on Security Awareness Training, including communication materials like newsletters and posters, please visit our Security page.