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Expatriates find identity theft can follow them abroad

Expatriates find identity theft can follow them abroad
February 5, 2016
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Identity theft issues get even more complex when citizens are living in another country. “People who are abroad run into the same sorts of issues that people residing in the U.S. have,” says Paul Bond, of Reed Smith’s Information Technology, Privacy and Data Security Group. “It’s just amplified [because] early warning signs of identity theft take longer to get to the person.” Simon Dukes, of Cifas, a fraud prevention not-for-profit in the United Kingdom, said, “expats … are often aware of scams in their new home country, but not their country of origin.” Those living overseas may not review statements for bank accounts they don’t use regularly or check their credit report regularly. Unraveling ID theft often is more challenging across borders. “One of the great ironies if you’re the victim of identity theft is you, as the actual person, are unable to prove who you are because you’re calling from overseas or your IP address is overseas,” Bond says. Source: The Wall Street Journal

A gamble that won’t pay off if you ignore it

sh_gamble_280Landry’s and Golden Nugget Casinos will notify potential victims of payment card data breaches at its venues during three periods between May 2014 and December, the companies announced. Customers are urged to remain vigilant with their card statements and immediately report irregularities. “Findings from the investigation show that criminal attackers were able to install a program on payment card processing devices at certain of our restaurants, food and beverage outlets, spas, entertainment destinations, and managed properties,” the company statement said. Source: The Houston Chronicle

That news isn’t just peachy

A health insurer’s data breach has affected 148,334 Georgians on Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids, state officials say. That total includes current and former Medicaid and PeachCare members from 2009 to 2015. Health insurer Centene lost computer hard drives containing about 950,000 individuals’ personal data, including name, address, date of birth, Social Security and member ID numbers, and health information. Centene is the parent company of Peach State Health Plan, which covers about 380,000 members of Medicaid and PeachCare in Georgia. Also affected by the breach were 1,113 individuals covered by Peach State in Georgia’s health insurance exchange, and 15 Medicare members, the state insurance department said. Source: Savannah (Ga.) Morning News

Rising fraud reports a down note for security advocates

sh_wage fraud_280Reports of identity theft increased in 2015, largely driven by an increase in tax- and wage-related fraud, the Federal Trade Commission reports. People made 490,220 identity theft complaints to the FTC in 2015, up from 332,647 (a 47 percent increase) in 2014 and 290,102 in 2013. From 2014 to 2015, there were 51 percent more complaints related to tax and wage identity theft, which isn’t all that surprising. All thieves need is a Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return. Through November 2015, the IRS reports it stopped 1.4 million identity theft returns (preventing about $8 billion in fraudulent refunds), but an audit of the IRS found that it lost $5.8 billion to such fraud in 2013. Source: USA Today

Don’t be blue if you get a call; it’s fake

sh_blue cross blue shield_280Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas says a scam is targeting members who purchased health plans through the federal health insurance marketplace. Thieves pose as someone from the marketplace or a health insurer trying to collect banking and credit card information from the victim. BCBS says it will never call a member to ask for bank account or credit card information and neither will federal marketplace insurers. Source: WIBW, Topeka

Another country heard from

Cyber attacks by nation-states are a serious threat to business, and companies should not rely on the government to protect them from the attacks, said Mike Rogers, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are targeting U.S. businesses, in many cases to steal intellectual property, and, in other cases, to disrupt operations, but privacy laws in the United States prevent government security agencies from protecting commercial enterprises from the attacks, Rogers said. Buying cyber insurance can help concentrate the minds of executives on cybersecurity, he said. “Insurance is the best way to get people involved in the fight—I have a premium and I’m accountable. Guess what—I’m going to pay attention to this.” Source: Business Insurance

Europe still eyes U.S. with suspicion

sh_EU_280Europe’s national privacy agencies sought additional information about whether the European Union’s new data-transfer agreement with the United States would adequately protect individuals’ personal information. The move by the privacy regulators, which represent individual countries within the 28-nation European Union, indicates an unwillingness to accept the word of officials in Brussels that they can adequately safeguard citizens’ personal data. The group asked the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, to provide a fuller explanation of how safeguards would work, and to explain how Europeans could seek legal redress in the United States if they believed their data was misused. The primary concern is how much access American intelligence agencies would have to European citizens’ personal information. Source: The New York Times

Cyber fears climb higher on the worry list

A report reveals that consumers are more worried about their online privacy than losing their primary income. The concerns seem to have escalated in the past 12 months as 45 percent more people are now disconcerted about their online privacy. American consumers are more concerned about “not knowing how personal information collected online is used” than they are about losing their primary source of income, a new research by National Cyber Security Alliance and TRUSTe reveals. Source: WCEF Tech

They don’t have liftoff from NASA, space agency says

sh_NASA_280NASA denied a group affiliated with the Anonymous hacking collective hacked one of the space agency’s drones, and said it also believes the 250GB of data the Anonsec crew said it had stolen through a lengthy compromise of the NASA network appeared to be information that already was public. Anonsec took responsibility for a breach of NASA, posting on Pastebin that the data included 150GB of drone logs as well as names, emails and numbers for more than 2,400 staff. The group also claimed to have acquired “semi-partial control” of a NASA drone during a flight over the Pacific, namely one of NASA’s two Northrop Grumman Corp. Global Hawk unmanned aircraft used for high-altitude, long-duration data collection. But NASA disagreed: “Control of our Global Hawk aircraft was not compromised. NASA has no evidence to indicate the alleged hacked data are anything other than already publicly available data. NASA takes cybersecurity very seriously and will continue to fully investigate all of these allegations.” Source: Forbes

Rumbles and grumbles from Congress

Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee aren’t satisfied with the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan to help victims of medical identity theft, and are looking for ways to improve federal fraud-fighting efforts, an aide for the committee’s Republican majority said. The issue could reignite debate about a provision in the Affordable Care Act that capped health-care organizations’ spending on fraud prevention. “The government has a role to play in incentivizing private industry to do the right things,” said Ann Patterson, senior vice president and program director for the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance. Source: Bloomberg BNA

Bear in mind, this could be a problem

sh_bear_280Mattel’s Fisher-Price partnered with a tech company to make Smart Toy, a stuffed bear that can learn a 3-year-old’s name. Unfortunately, the bear is hackable. Researchers at Rapid7, a security company, found that the app connected to the toy had several security flaws that would allow a hacker to steal a child’s name, birthdate and gender, along with other data. Fisher-Price has since fixed the issue, Rapid7 said. Source: The Guardian


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