Friday, February 26, 2010

Prevent Identity Theft with these 20 Questions


Can you pass this test? If you can, it means you are doing what you can to prevent identity theft

There are precautions everyone needs to take to prevent identity theft. Following these precautions does not guarantee safety, but they show good steps in the right direction. Take this identity theft quiz and see how you score in the war to prevent identity theft. Count how many times you answer "yes."

1. I protect my wallet or purse. I never leave them unattended.

2. I prevent 'prying eyes' from seeing my PIN number when using my debit card in public.

3. I make sure my home is locked and secure when I leave.

4. I don't give out 'unnecessary' information when filling out forms and applying for job positions.

5. I don't file for warranties or enter contests via postcards. I always put postcards in envelopes so my information is secure.

6. I cross out my credit card number, bank account number, and social security number when turning in receipts for travel expenses or charitable donations.

7. I do not routinely carry my checkbook.

8. I limit the number of credit cards and personal information I carry when leaving the house.

9. I limit entering Internet surveys, questionnaires, and electronic mailing lists.

10. I don't put my driver's license number or social security number on checks.

11. I don't carry my social security card in my wallet or purse.

12. I secure personal information at home so it isn't accessible to workers, house cleaners, babysitters, and children's friends.

13. I stop mail service when away from home.

14. I use a locked mailbox for incoming and outgoing mail.

15. I never give out personal information such as social security numbers or bank account numbers over the phone.

16. When asked for personal information, I question why the information is needed.

17. I shred or burn all personal information identity thieves could use to steal my identity.

18. I check my monthly credit card statements to check for accuracy.

19. I check my monthly bank statements for accuracy.

20. I check my credit report yearly with the three major credit-reporting agencies.

Did you pass? You did if you were able to say 'yes' to all twenty of these questions. The questions you answered 'no' to are your weak spots. Repair these weak spots and prevent identity theft. For more information on protecting yourself, check out a program like LifeLock. Preventing identity theft doesn't have to be difficult. Pass this test, and you are better able to prevent identity theft.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Email Viruses - Stop Computer Viruses In Their Tracks

...information from Internet ScamBusters

Note: This information isn't meant to scare you. It's meant to educate you, so that you can defend yourself properly.

What Is a Computer Virus?

Like viruses that infect living beings, computer viruses infect your computer. They are software, and are often attached to other software or documents you might receive. When you run the virus's software or the file the virus has infected, the virus can infect your computer's software.

There are many types of viruses and terms for them, but we'll use the general term 'virus' to make things easy.

Like the flu virus, a computer virus must spread from host to host to survive. When we get the flu, we cough and sneeze, and tiny particles carrying the virus spread the flu to other people.

With computer viruses, the virus is designed to spread from your computer to other computers. Here are some of the most common ways they spread:

1. Once the virus has infected your system, it may automatically send out emails containing more copies of the virus using the address book in your email program. This type of virus is called an Internet "Worm," because it is a self-propagating virus. For example, an Internet worm crippled tens of thousands of computers and slowed down parts of the Internet on the weekend of January 29, 2003.

2. If the virus is a macro virus (attached to a Microsoft Word document, for example), it may attach itself to any document you create or modify. If you send another document to someone by email, the virus goes along with it.

3. Sometimes viruses masquerade as a fun program (like an electronic greeting card) that secretly infects your system. If you pass the program along, not realizing that it contains a virus, you will be transmitting the virus manually to your friends, family, or colleagues.

Trojan Horses are closely related to computer viruses, but they differ in that they do not attempt to replicate themselves. More specifically, a Trojan Horse performs some undesired -- yet intended -- action while, or in addition to, pretending to do something else. A common example is a fake login program, which collects account information and passwords by asking for this info just like a normal login program does.

Many computer viruses are malicious -- in other words, they can erase your files or lock up whole computer systems. Other computer viruses are more benign -- they don't do any direct damage other than by spreading themselves locally or throughout the Internet.

Regardless, computer viruses should always be treated.

... get more information at CyberSecurity for Seniors

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ontario Provincial Police warn public to beware of fraudulent Internet scam

ORILLIA, Ontario, February 3, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch is investigating an Internet-based fraud scheme and warning the public to exercise vigilance when dealing in business transactions with unknown individuals over the Internet and/or by telephone.

The investigation has revealed that an Ontario resident recently applied online to a job advertisement for an Accounting Assistant/Payment Representative position posted at an employment centre.

The position professed to involve working from home by contacting legitimate companies via the Internet on behalf of a fraudulent company and receiving cheques purportedly from these companies that were mailed to the new employee by the fraudulent employer. A company representative then instructed the victim via email or by telephone to deposit the cheques to her personal bank account and retain a 10 per cent fee for her work and the remainder of the money was to be deposited to a specified account or sent via email money transfer.

Fortunately, both the victim and her bank reported this matter to police when they became suspicious of the excessive amount on one of the cheques.

The investigation also revealed that the cheques received by the victim originated from legitimate Canadian businesses and the OPP have since linked these cheques to reported incidents of cheque theft and cheque duplication.

The OPP is warning the public to refrain from engaging in any business transactions with individuals they do not know, over the Internet, even if they provide a telephone number and email address.

If you have any information or if you are a victim of this scam, please report it to your local police service or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre at: 1-888-495-8501 or online at

"The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague." - Bill Cosby