Identity Theft

July 20, 2017
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What happened?

A new ransomware attack created computer chaos worldwide—though primarily in Europe —on June 27. The outbreak, dubbed both GoldenEye and Petya by researchers, is being compared to WannaCry. While antivirus firms and IT departments struggle to get the outbreak under control, there’s still some debate about how it works and how it spreads. But in some ways, the virus is even more powerful, and more nasty, than WannaCry.

The list of victims is...

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July 16, 2017
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Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Wildfires. Mother Nature’s extraordinary powers of destruction leave survivors struggling to put their lives back together.

Many survivors are under tremendous stress and more vulnerable to fraud. Criminals know it. After a natural disaster strikes, there often is an uptick in disaster fraud, charitable solicitations fraud, price gouging and contractor and vendor fraud, according to...

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July 15, 2017
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True or False: The time for IRS-related swindles and scams is behind us — until next tax season. If you’re still reading this, you probably guessed “false.” And yep, it’s sad but true: Those pesky swindlers are still at it.

Normally, when summer arrives with its parade of warm days and fewer demands on our attention, there is a quiet month or so when very little happens in the way of IRS-related activities (quarterly payments being the only thing you might expect on a list of tax-...

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July 15, 2017
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Parenting a tween, teenager or older? Having a talk about cyber security should be near the top of your to-do list. The old advice of keeping the family computer in the living room to monitor your kids’ internet activity is pointless in the age of everywhere-you-go mobile devices.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep your child safe and help them make good digital decisions down the road. The lessons you impart now can protect...

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July 14, 2017
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Pet ownership has definite upsides. You get companionship and exercise and the satisfaction of doing a good deed. Plus, people who own pets live longer. Unfortunately, pet ownership can also make you a target for phishers, scammers and identity thieves.

The Vector du Jour

With 65% of U.S. households including pets (and an estimated $60 billion in ...

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July 10, 2017
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The top site for classified ads in the U.K. conducted a study recently that should send a wave or two to this side of the Atlantic. When it comes to scams, it’s all about the bait. Gumtree found that even with the forethought that a listing was a scam, more than a third of their users would still go ahead with a transaction. As my mother would say … Actually, she’d probably just shake her head.

It doesn’t matter where they...

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July 6, 2017
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Do you know how often you use artificial intelligence tools every day?

Many people associate artificial intelligence or “AI” with robots and science fiction movies, but the reality is that if you use a cell phone, digital assistant or a computer, then you are likely already interacting with AI technology.

The point of most AI technologies is to make your life easier. To do that, they “listen...

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June 30, 2017
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A friend of mine showed up last night at a place we sometimes meet. He looked like Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale after lobbing a game-ending home run to Aaron Judge of the Yankees. He was supposed to have been on a plane to Italy. I asked him what happened.

“We were all set to head out,” he said. “First leg: Rome. But I just canceled our tickets, like, a second ago.”

I asked why.

“Airbnb scam,” he said.

It was supposed to be the perfect trip. He and his wife have a 2...

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June 28, 2017
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In today’s connected world, cyber crime seems to be everywhere—at home, at work and in the devices we carry with us around the clock. Information security threats are more complex, widespread and challenging to address than ever before. And their speed has increased, as new vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited on a daily basis. Organizations and government agencies of all sizes are under attack, putting the personal information of millions of people at...

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June 21, 2017
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Summer’s here and the time is right for getting hacked or worse, having the contents of your computer held hostage by ransomware. For a couple of carefree and extreme data-consuming months, kids everywhere will be doing whatever they want online even if you’ve tried to control them.

In other words, be very afraid.

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