David Pogue of Yahoo Tech lays down 5 of the easiest ways to compromise your information online. We all think, “Oh, it’ll never happen to me.” Well it can. And we want you to protect yourself and your identity by taking a proactive approach to security, because the consequences can be severe.
Here’s what to do if you want to get hacked:
1. Make your password, “password.”
Believe it or not, the word “password” was the #1 most common for years, but has more recently been surpassed by “123456.” You may also choose passwords such as “qwerty,” “iloveyou,” or “abc123″ if you want your information compromised, as well.
But to avoid hackers, Pogue suggests using something like this: “For example, you can compose a password from the initials of a fun phrase, like the delicious password “29gofiabm.” (That, of course, stands for ’29 grams of fat in a Big Mac.’)”
2. Repeat your passwords
Use the same password (“password”) for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, eBay, Gmail, online banking, Amazon, and credit card log in. Go for it. Once the hacker guesses that your password is “password”, he or she is in every account you own.
Making your passwords more complex and varying them slightly is the obvious way to avoid this situation, but Pogue also suggests “installing a free password-management program like Dashlane or (for Apple products) iCloud Keychain.” These programs set the passwords for you and store them, without you having to memorize them!
3. Don’t use your cell phone number as a security measure.
Most people think giving up their cell phone numbers as a security measure on trusted sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. is actually compromising their cell phone number. It’s not…and here’s why.
There are three important security reasons that they ask you to provide your cell phone number for.
First, if you’re trying to reset your password because you forgot it or you just wish to change it, the alert will be sent to your phone immediately. You’ll know right then and there if someone may be trying to log in to your account if it wasn’t you trying to reset the password in the first place.
Second, the company will be able to alert you via text instantaneously if there is a company hacking issue or if you will be locked out of your account for security reasons and how to proceed.
And third, Pogue says, “some websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo Mail, offer an optional, super-hyper-secure feature called two-factor authentication. That user-hostile term means this: ‘The first time you log into your account from a new gadget, you have to enter a code that the company sends to you on your cell phone.’ In other words, hackers using their own computers can never get into your accounts unless they also have your phone.”
In essence, it’s not a bad practice to let trusted sites use your cell phone number as a means to alert you for security reasons. It can save you much aggravation in the long run.
4. When a bank, PayPal, eBay, etc. emails you to inform you of problems with your account, go ahead and click the link to log in.
Trust us, you won’t be able to decipher which emails are legitimate and which ones are not. Fake emails have been circulating from banks, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, and countless others, telling “customers” that there are issues with account information, maybe that you need to update it, etc.
To get hacked, all you have to do is click the link, log in with your username and password, and voila! Hackers now have the username and password that you use to log in to that specific site.
When in doubt, open up your browser and log in to your account the usual way or pick up the phone and call to ensure that your account is normal, and totally bypass/delete the email altogether.
5. Pay for a “tech agency” to get access to your account.
Pogue states that no legitimate, big-name site such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc. will ever take money for technical support. Unfortunately, bogus “help” sites do.
These sites act as tech agencies and charge fees to help fix your accounts. And sometimes, people think it’s easier to pay someone to fix it for you and avoid all of the hassle. In all actuality, you just gave up your personal information.
Jim Puzzanghera of The Los Angeles Times reports that this brutal winter of heavy snow and arctic blasts has resulted in $1.5 billion in insurance losses across the country, thus making this winter one of the most expensive in decades for the insurance industry.
The Insurance Information Institute released a report using claims data from Verisk Analytics with the details of the damages, which includes, “175,000 claims paid to policyholders for damages such as collapsed roofs, burst pipes, downed tree limbs and auto accidents from Jan. 1 through Friday (Feb. 21).”
From an economic standpoint, businesses have been influenced with unexpected closures, supply chains have been disrupted, and job growth has been slowed.
Claims from two of the four major winter storms to hit in 2014 have been paid, placing this year at 6th on the list of most expensive winters since 1980, according to the report. But once the claims from the two other storms (and any storms yet to come) are paid and factored in, 2014 will surely be in the top five on that list.
The report also states that hurricanes and tropical storms come in first on the list of costly types of natural disasters with 40% of all insured catastrophe losses from 1993 to 2012, tornadoes are second with 36%, and severe winter weather in third with 7.1%.
Claims Journal reports that the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority has compiled fraud statistics that concluded suspected insurance fraud referrals have increased by 9% in 2013, in turn creating a 24% increase in criminal convictions.
According to Ralph Burnham, executive director of the Insurance Fraud Prevention Bureau:
- Workers’ compensation referrals increased 7%
- Auto insurance fraud referrals increased 9%
- Homeowners’ and renters insurance increased 12%
- Total amount of restitution, fines and penalties defendants were required to pay have increased 26%
- 408 arrests and 37 assisted arrests in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies were reported by the Insurance Fraud Bureaus in Pennsylvania.
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Dean Smith, President and CEO of ICU Investigations, sheds some light on the art of interviewing and tactics used to identify if someone is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them, God.
According to Mr. Smith, there are two different scenarios that come into play; an interrogation for a crime, such as theft, and a witness statement. And both of these scenarios require entirely different methods to find out the information you want to know.
During an interrogation session, Mr. Smith advises to “let them think you know more than you actually do. A person’s mind is their worst enemy.”
Also, in order to tell if a subject is being deceptive, Mr. Smith pays attention to their body language.
- “When someone keeps looking down and to the left, they’re being deceptive. It is not a normal, human reaction when speaking, and it will indicate that they’re not telling the truth.”
- “When a subject crosses their arms across their chest, they’re being protective, on the defense, closed-off.”
- “When someone is facing you head-on and rests their hands on their knees and legs slightly parted, they are open and ready to tell you what you want to know.”
- “Tapping of their feet, fidgeting hands, quivering lips, eye movement, facial expression…huge.”
- “One of the most obvious indicators of lying is perspiration.”
- “A liar’s breathing is affected. Pay attention if they’re breathing through their nose heavily, and watch for rapid chest movements.”
Mr. Smith explains that after spending a lot of time interrogating individuals since his first experiences as a private investigator, spotting deception “becomes a sixth sense. You’re almost intuitive. The trick is to be able to tell the difference between a liar and someone who is nervous about being interrogated. One method of questioning is to pay attention to how uncomfortable they are with a certain line of questioning, and move off that subject for a little while. But bring them back. If you get the same uncomfortable reaction, they are either lying or withholding information.”
When conducting witness statements, Mr. Smith takes a totally different approach.
“I don’t identify myself as an investigator; I play the naïve card. It is human nature to want to help others, so go in as if you need help collecting information for the insurance company on behalf of a victim. Be personable and let them know you’re here to help. If you identify yourself as an investigator, they close themselves off.”
Mr. Smith still warns against what he calls, “Nosie Nellies”. Although encountering one happens very few and far between, he goes on to explain that, “they’re the people that just want something to say, something to talk about. You have to be able to weed out the embellishment.”
Lastly, Mr. Smith sticks to an age-old tactic that still holds true. He says, “Find out the who, what, where, when, how. Stick to the facts and extract the opinions.”
Mr. Dean Smith has spent almost 25 years in the investigative industry, and proves that experience is everything.
Investigators at ICU are highly trained in manipulating searches and criteria on the web for data input while conducting our Internet Profile Reports. However, search engines and directories such as Google and Yahoo will not always take us into the dark depths of the web to access additional, even personal information about the claimants in question.
To explain a little further, spiders don’t have access to the information that is stored within the deep web, or invisible web, as they normally would when they index Google and Yahoo. Not only have we mastered the visible web, but the investigators at ICU probe and manipulate the deep web as well.
If we elected not to utilize these resources, we would be throwing away access to 500 times more information than what normal search engines will give us about your subjects.
Investigators continuously research new technology and new techniques to stay current as an industry leader, and we consistently strive to provide as much information to our clients as possible to help you make the right decisions.
ICU’s Internet Profile Report can provide clients with a look into their claimants’ lifestyles, employment, hobbies, addresses, etc. Many times, the IPR will reveal information contrary to the injury claim. Utilizing IPRs in conjunction with surveillance and activity checks completes the most proactive approach to keeping fraudulent claims at bay.
Suspicious? Get Answers with ICU Investigations.
48-year-old Catarina Young, the primary owner and operator of Elite Benefits Corp in Middlesex County, has been sentenced on January 9th, 2014 to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge, Dennis Nieves.
A Middlesex County jury convicted Young of second-degree theft by unlawful taking and second-degree misapplication of entrust property or property of a government or financial institution after she stole nearly half a million dollars from a trust fund. The trust fund directed funds for health insurance policies and prescription coverage for hundreds of employees and their families.
Young had deposited 86 checks and 16 wire transfers totaling $462,341 into her personal bank account between 11/17/03 and 12/26/06.
The money should have been utilized for health insurance benefits from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Benecard.
Young’s actions left 1,000 working people and their families uninsured.
Elite Benefits Corp is no longer in business.