Sunday, January 11, 2009

5 Million CheckFree Consumers Warned Against Identity Theft Exposure

With the new year's first major security breach, CheckFree issued
a consumer disclosure recently warning more consumers were
negatively impacted than originally thought.

Computer hackers operating in the Ukraine effectively redirected
CheckFree's web traffic to illegal computer servers.

"...because the company lost control of its Web domains, it
doesn't know exactly who was hit. And so it must warn a
much larger number of customers."

While there are indications the exposure could have been much
worse, consumers should be wary as CheckFree holds a significant
reach within the banking community for bill payment services:

"...wouldn't say what banks were affected by the hack, but
the majority of these five million customers were CheckFree's
own users, she said. In total, about 42 million customers
access CheckFree's bill payment site..."

So, our tip for today is to contact your bank immediately if you
are a user of CheckFree's bill payment services. Find out if your
accounts exhibit any potentially fraudulent activity.

Finally, as major identity theft security breaches such as this one
tend to further develop over time, check back with us for updates
as we continue to provide free, anonymous tips to prevent id theft.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

35 Million Data Records Exposed in 2008 to Identity Theft

Last year over 35,000,000 personal data records were exposed via
656 separate security breaches representing a 47% increase from

According to a recently released study by the ITRC, the overwhelming
majority of those exposed records also did not include encryption nor
password protection to minimize unauthorized access:

"...only 2.4% of all breaches had encryption or other
strong protection methods in use.

Only 8.5% of reported breaches had password protection."

But, even more alarming of this very large number of Americans who
were unnecessarily exposed to potential identity theft, the unreported
number of records exposed could be much higher as not every state
has laws requiring businesses requiring consumer disclosure.

And of those states which do, the laws vary greatly which renders a
great many Americans vulnerable to the often times hidden potential
identity theft has already been perpetrated against their financial
safety but goes unreported solely due to some company avoiding

"Some 15.7 percent of all breaches were attributed to
insider theft, a figure that more than doubled between
2007 and 2008, ITRC said."

So, our tip for today is one New Year's resolution you can easily
achieve. Get protected by following these simple steps:

1) Get a copy of your free credit report to check for any fraudulent
credit accounts listed in your name.

2) Enroll in automatic credit monitoring available through your
bank or credit institutions you currently have accounts with.

3) Get your public information profile (PIP) checked out to really
catch the often times hidden identity theft which can lurk in any of
the over 400 data sources containing your name that are
not covered by your credit report.

* Criminal identity theft here can get your arrested or lose your job
without you even knowing why, when, or who accessed your file.

Finally, make sure to let your friends and family members know about
these alarming growth trends in identity theft which can be minimized
by taking advantage of these free, anonymous tips for identity theft.