Rebecca Herold
The Privacy
Tip of the Month 

Even the Luck O' the Irish Won't Protect You from Crooks.

This month's tips are designed to raise awareness of security and privacy threats you might not consider during times of trouble. Because, let's face it, we can't ALL be lucky ALL the time. It's better to be in-the-know. Feel free to forward this to your family, friends and co-workers as well.

The recent disaster in Haiti, coupled with our current economic situation, can spell trouble for well-meaning folks wishing to give to the cause. Making sure the charity to which you're donating is legitimate is the first step, but if you use your credit card when you dial into a phone bank, be sure to watch your statements.
No matter what your reason for giving a credit card number over the phone -- donations, shopping, reservations -- the person on the other end may repeat your information back to you. Standard procedure, right?
Perhaps. But just a few weeks ago, a Florida telemarketer was charged with stealing people's credit card numbers by eavesdropping on his co-workers through their cubicles. The man racked up $30,000 in bogus charges which he spent on luxury items and takeout pizza.
Unscrupulous? Of course. Easy? Absolutely. Especially because there is no digital evidence left behind. After all, there's no physical record of overhearing someone.
If you also use credit cards for online transactions, watch closely to make sure the site you're using isn't redirected to an outside page. Shameless entities are getting smoother, sneaking in "offers" or "membership fees" and, sometimes, they're even waiting a few months before submitting charges to your account.

Those fun little Facebook games and applications may seem like a great way to stay in touch and interact with your friends. But they can be far from harmless. To check out this article which identifies "FarmVille's Sinister Underbelly" click here.

To learn the "Three Facebook Settings Every User Should Check now" click here.
How can your Twitter account can be worth $1,000 to others? Click here to find out.

I'm going to get a bit personal with you here, because a recent happening in my life has brought to the forefront an issue that will, unfortunately, affect us all sooner or later. Last month, my father passed away. In the wake of his loss, I was left to deal with all sorts of paperwork. This is precisely the opportunity many crooks look to exploit. I was very surprised and disappointed to have the three major credit reporting agencies tell me that I could not establish credit monitoring for my father because they do not do this for the deceased; they can only put a "deceased" flag on his records. I am now working to change this. 
My tip of the month, therefore, is to contact the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) to flag their accounts when family members or significant others die, because crooks are like vultures when it comes to stealing identities of the recently departed. Immediately close all of their credit accounts, as well. The stress can be overwhelming when a loved one passes, and many family members don't think about taking these steps. However, failing to do so could result in much greater stress down the line when a criminal steals the identity of someone dear to you whose memory you want to preserve.
If you would like to read my father's eulogy, please click here. You'll find his was a life well-lived and I feel lucky to have had him in mine.
As always, I welcome your feedback about this email! 
Thank you for reading and wishing you well,
Content provided by: 
Rebecca Herold & Associates, LLC
Mobile: 515.491.1564, Business: 515.996.2199