Rebecca Herold

The Privacy Professor's
Tip of the

 What's in your May basket?

 There's so much popping this month... and it's not just the poppies! 


From new smart phone tracking discoveries to bank account theft schemes to social networking scares to credit card fraud... let's take this May Day to stop and heed the warnings before we stop and smell the flowers.

You've probably heard about the hot water Apple is in for the tracking and location storing functions built into some of their devices. But what about all those Android users? 

Don't you just cringe when a Facebook "friend" tags a less-than-flattering photo of you? Or, even worse, tags someone else's photo, often explicit or vulgar, with your name? More than just being annoying, it can also be a security threat.

And here in my own backyard, the personal bank accounts of several people who ate at a local Mexican restaurant have been hacked, reportedly through the restaurant's credit card processing system. One victim says he had $800 stolen from his checking account! Now, I haven't eaten at this restaurant, but anyone not paying in cash could have been a victim of this scheme.

Speaking of cash, you might not have to carry it anymore. Smart phones may become the way to pay in the future. But it's not without risks. 

Be aware of the current security threats and privacy scams so you can enjoy the lovely fragrance of flowers for May Day instead of being a victim crying Mayday!

Did you know...

We all know that today William and Kate said, "I do" but some cybercriminals were looking to do YOU in for searching related keywords.  



Phone in car 

1. Make the tracking data inaccessible on iPhones and iPads (they don't have disable capabilities) and disable tracking on Androids and other mobile devices. Seeing your personal icon move virtually down the road as you travel might be a novelty. But the fun will soon wear off if your whereabouts can be determined and viewed by others will ill intent, or the history of your travels is used in ways that impact your insurance coverage, employment, vehicle warranties, or other services.


2. If you start experiencing photo tagging "spam" (which often put embarrassing and porno graphic images on your Facebook wall), disable photo tagging. It's not only done for "laughs" but it is also becoming more common as part of cyberbullying activities. I've seen this happen... don't let it happen to you.


3. Be vigilant with bank and credit card use and tracking. Try not to let your card leave your sight; you should always know right where all of your credit cards are. Do a quick online check before going to a restaurant to see if they've been hacked before and use cash if they have.  Review your statements closely, and proceed with extreme caution if you want to use your smart phone as a credit card.


Above all, have a safe, and happy and bloomingly beautiful May! Talk with you soon,

Rebecca Peony

Rebecca Herold & Associates, LLC
Mobile: 515.491.1564, Business: 515.996.2199