There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

War has moved to new frontiers. This time its your computer...

This has never happened before yet we witnessed it. Sony pulled a movie "The Interview" because of threats from a group of hackers. These hackers sat half way around the world and got into Sony's offices and twisted their arm. The sheer magnitude of this episode is mind boggling. What message does it covey to others hackers, is a different story.

So here is the question "If a $22B corporation can get hacked and forced to surrender, can you face the same?"

Answer is YES !!

Your personal and confidential Information is flowing digitally more than ever, all your message, emails, personal data is at risk and you need to know how to protect it.

Here's how to see signs of Identity Theft per FTC. 
  • How do thieves get your information?
    • They rummage through your garbage, trash of business or public dumps. or pretend to work — for legitimate companies, medical offices, clinics, pharmacies, or government agencies, or convince you to reveal personal information.
  • What do Thieves do with your Information ? 
    • Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance
  • Clues that someone has stolen your information.
  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
  • What If Your Information is Lost or Stolen, But Your Accounts Don’t Show Any Problems?

    • If your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information are lost or stolen, contact the credit reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit file. Check your bank and other account statements for unusual activity. Order a free copy of your credit report periodically to monitor your accounts. You have a right to one free copy of your credit report from each of the national credit reporting companies every year. If you stagger your orders, you can get a credit report every four months.


Here are some services that make It easy for you to monitor your identity
o    Identity Guard
o    Life Lock
o    Privacy Guard
o    CreditReport
o    IdentityForce

Examples of Identity Theft Schemes – Fiscal Year 2014
The following examples of identity theft schemes are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.
Texas Resident Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Refunds
On Sept. 29, 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona, Stephen Galender Allison, of Lakeway, Texas, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $813,555 in restitution. Allison previously pleaded guilty to false claims. According to court documents, between 2007 and 2012, Allison filed a total of 29 fraudulent federal and state tax returns. In these returns, Allison falsely claimed that the filer had earned substantial wages, that substantial taxes had already been withheld from the filer’s paycheck, and that the filer was entitled to a large refund based on these alleged tax withholdings. In addition to filing several of these false tax returns on his own behalf, Allison also filed similar returns on behalf of a fictitious person and on behalf of several acquaintances whose identities he had stolen.
Defendant Sentenced in $19 Million Tax Fraud Conspiracy
On Sept. 26, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska, Maximo Amparo-Vazquez, aka Japhet Soto Santiago, aka Luis Angel Cortez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic formerly residing in Alaska, was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $559,755 in restitution to the IRS. Amparo-Vazquez pleaded guilty on July 2, 2014, to conspiring to defraud the government with respect to claims. According to court documents, from January 2010 to March 2012, Amparo-Vazquez conspired with others to use stolen identities to file income tax returns for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent income tax refunds. The conspirators in the income tax fraud scheme obtained the stolen identities of more than 2,600 individuals, including people’s names and social security numbers. Most of these stolen identities were from citizens of Puerto Rico.

Read all case here on IRS site.
Stay Safe !!

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