Rebecca Herold
The Privacy
Tip of the Month 

They're not fooling around.

Criminals target you on April Fool's Day...

And every day.


We're all excited about new devices and applications that can simplify and enhance our lives. (Plus, let's just admit it - technology is getting cooler everyday!) But the more sophisticated the technology is, the more trouble it can invite.


Whether you're at your computer, answering the door, driving your car or visiting the doctor, ever-increasing risks can undermine even the savviest tech aficionados. This April Fool's Day, I want to introduce you to a few of those risks so you can keep your guard up... and still enjoy the heck out of that new app on your smart phone!


P.S. Feel free to forward this to your friends, family and coworkers to help them keep the criminals from fooling them too.


As the adage professes, we can't avoid it - tax season. Every year there are more options for handling your filings. Just as every year, there are more tax scams. If you get an offer to auto file that seems suspiciously quick and easy, you may be correct in your suspicion. Click here to learn about the latest "dirty dozen" scams.

Did you fill out your census forms? The government will begin following up soon. But beware. If you get a knock on the door or call on the phone, make sure you know who's really behind the inquiry. Click here to read more.

Who's following you on social networking sites? I'm not talking about friends, family and fans... I'm talking about phishing. Many of the applications on
Facebook are rogue (meaning that they do not originate with Facebook, but with other individuals, some of whom have ill-intent). When you give permission to access your account to these applications, you can inadvertently expose contacts, other linked programs and devices... and even your hard drive! One such application claims that you can see who's been viewing your profile - which may sound intriguing - but it's a scam. Read more on that here. 

If you receive an email claiming to be from Facebook and asking you to open an attachment to receive a new password, this email is fake! Delete it from your inbox, and warn your friends. Remember that Facebook will never send you a new password in an attachment.


The next time you're at the doctor's office, you might consider asking who has access to your files. Recently, a disgruntled healthcare employee changed patient records (altering them 1,500 times!) out of spite because she felt jilted after being transferred. Read more here. 
What if you were about to head to work and your car wouldn't start... not because it was malfunctioning, but because an ex-auto dealer employee disabled it using a web-based system that could "talk" to the cars sold from the dealership? Over 100 car owners in Texas had a similar rude awakening recently. Get the full story here.


Lessons learned? Don't assume that the organizations you do business with have good privacy and security policies and practices in place; you have to ask them. And, trust your gut - if an offer or inquiry looks questionable or too good to be true, look for a different solution.


If you're in Washington, D.C. next month, stop by to see me! I'll be at the IAPP conference participating in the panel session "Monitoring What You Do at Home: Privacy Challenges of the Smart Power Grid" at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 21.

Click here to learn more.
Online Universities just listed me in their "50 Fascinating Professors Who Tweet" feature! Click here to learn more.
Thanks for reading,
Content provided by: 
Rebecca Herold & Associates, LLC
Mobile: 515.491.1564, Business: 515.996.2199