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Business builder, strategic marketer, security analyst, published author, television news correspondent, actor. Deliver presentations throughout the United States and Canada on identity theft protection and personal security. Work with Fortune 1000, IT and startups. Launching, branding, messaging, representation, m&a facilitator, SEO and media. Current private equity projects include dynamic biometrics, credit card platform multi-factor authentication, security investigations and telemarketing fraud mitigation. www.IDTheftSecurity.com

Identity Theft Expert; Conficker Virus Countdown

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By RobertSiciliano · March 30, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker News of Conficker out of control then under control is everywhere. 60 minutes reports on everything we have discussed in these posts. Main stream media has recognized the Internet has a cancerous virus and is infected. Criminal hackers are creating viruses infecting 60minutes webpages in record numbers all in the name of money. Security professionals are losing sleep as they race against the bad guys in anticipation of the next big breach. Conficker is big news as its infecting mainly corporate networks at an astonishing estimated 10-12 million PCs and this sleeper cell is set to get its next set of updates April 1st. Like Al Queda operatives living amongst us, cyber terrorists waiting for their next communiqué from a remote cave, Conficker waits to strike. terrorists Nobody knows what’s going to happen April Fools, but security professional have a plan. Do you? By all accounts Conficker has the potential capacity to steal data or launch a massive denial of service attack which encompasses massive amounts of data, flooding the Net, bogging down mainframe servers that distribute data to our inboxes. 60 Minutes used the example of what I did on CNN describing a Facebook hack and used a Morley Safer Facebook account that may be hacked with Conficker and begins to send messages to Morleys friends. Then Leslie Stahl who is a Morely “friend” receives an email facebook1 looking like it’s from Morelys Facebook account to click a video. That video has a destructive payload that infects Leslies machine and the virus replicates itself to Leslies contacts. Now Morelys PC has a virus that records all his keystrokes and Leslie is just as vulnerable. Bank accounts are cracked, credit card log-ins are stolen, the contents of their My Documents folders are copied and sent to Turkey and identities are stolen. People who don’t have any identity theft protection face years of dealing with creditors who accuse them of being bad debtors. Malware is showing up on thousands of websites compromised in numerous ways and infecting computer users whose defenses are down. Most attacks can be prevented with updated anti virus like McAfee or others. But with an estimated 15,000 new infections daily it’s difficult for the every day user to protect themselves unless they are automatically downloading virus definitions. And that may not be enough. Criminal hackers come in all shapes and colors from every corner of the world. Russian hackers are often depicted as the best of the worst. These cyber criminals are often put on a pedestal in their communities as they brag about their accomplishments, hacking wealthy hacker Americans and stealing 10s of thousands of dollars monthly and spending that money in their remote villages. Russian authorities generally don’t prosecute and may even employ criminals to steal from greedy Americans. As long as hate and money are motivators, foreign governments will groom and incite talented 14 year olds into a life of crime. This story is far from over. Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discusses online banking security here I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information

Identity Theft Expert; Anatomy of a Hack

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By RobertSiciliano · March 27, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert There is a battle going on round the clock, between the bad hackers and the good hackers. Most of the time, the good guys lose. Here we have an example of the bad guy actually getting caught. At age 19, an Israeli criminal hacker named Ehud Tenebaum made news as “The Analyzer,” (a great tag for a criminal hacker) after he cracked and penetrated the Pentagon, NASA and even Hamas computer networks. tenebaum1 He then went silent and is believed to have embarked on a 10 year long international conspiracy to hack networks of United States and Canadian banks and other financial institutions. Losses are estimated at $10-12 million. The Analyzer's hacking technique is believed to be “SQL injection,” a tactic that I've blogged about previously, which exploits vulnerabilities in software development. A forensic analyst who investigated breaches in both countries found a common thread in each hack. Servers in Virginia owned by HopOne, an ISP, were used as a routing point, receiving their commands from another set of servers at a Dutch hosting company. Here’s where Big Brother is watching, and in this case, for good reason. Last spring, US investigators working with Dutch authorities requested that all data traffic from the Dutch servers on route to Virginia be intercepted through wiretapping and provided to authorities. During this time, criminal hackers from all over the world used the stolen data to create ATM white cards and prepaid gift cards loaded with cash. They withdrew cash from ATMs on three continents to the tune of approximately $450,000. According to Wired, the wiretapped traffic included email discussions between numerous criminal hackers, regarding their accomplishments. One email address, Analyzer22@hotmail.com, provided investigators with their smoking gun. The Hotmail address had Ehud Tenebaum's name and age registered along with it. Not too smart, E.T. Ehud Tenebaum owned and operated a Canadian computer security company called Internet Labs Secure. One of the IP addresses used to access the Hotmail account was registered to Tenebaum's business. E.T. phoned home and got caught. This is one example of high tech organized criminals taking advantage of numerous flaws in the technology et1 we use every day. Be warned, there are plenty more to take E.T.'s place. Chances are, someone moved right in where he left off. Invest in identity theft protection. Install and update Internet security software such as McAfee. Check your bank and credit card statements online bi-weekly and make sure to refute unauthorized charges within a 30 to 60 day period. I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information. Identity Theft Speaker Robert Siciliano discussing credit card hacks here

Identity Theft Speaker; April Fools Day is conficker worm day

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By RobertSiciliano · March 26, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Criminal hackers have created a virus that has slipped into millions of PCs and is set to strike on April Fools day. This is no joke. So far this year it is estimated that somewhere between 3 and 12 million computers have been compromised by the "Conficker" worm, also known as "Downup," "Downadup" and "Kido," possibly considered the largest known global botnet. Microsoft and others are in a 24/7/365 battle with the makers of Conficker to see who ends up at the finish virus2 line first. None of the PCs infected with Conficker are displaying any of the characteristics generally exhibited by the recent spate of viruses, offering a remote control component and often used to host spoofed websites and other malicious fraud related activities. At least not yet. If Conficker reaches its full potential, it will result in data breaches, credit card fraud and numerous forms of identity theft. It has been widely believed that Conficker is waiting for its next set of updates on April 1st, to unleash the endgame its writers had in mind. The sense among security professionals is that Conficker will unleash an uncontrollable fury not yet seen or experienced by the security community. Conficker duplicates like viruses of old and infects PCs that are unpatched and outdated. The virus scans the Internet, seeking and infecting unpatched computers. Conficker was built with encryption pirated from an MIT researcher and has the ability to circumvent anti-virus programs. This level of technology has the ability to slip into external hard drives, thumb drives and any memory based peripheral. When that same peripheral is plugged into another PC, that PC is also infected. Many PCs in Asia have rogue versions of Windows, and are largely unpatched due to Microsoft not allowing updates. Update your Microsoft Windows ASAP. Make sure you have up to date Internet security software, such as McAfee. Stay away from rogue websites and be careful what you click. microsoft2 As stated in a previous post, Microsoft offered a global bounty for the arrest and prosecution of whoever created and released the Conficker virus. Even with the security community vigorously trying to defend PCs globally, in early March, millions of Conficker-infected PCs were upgraded into a peer to peer network, which makes the botnet even more dangerous by giving each infected PC commanding authority over others. This means that every PC has the capability of running every other PC on the botnet. The anticipation among researchers leading up to April 1st is much like that which was felt prior to midnight on December 31st, 1999. The Y2K ”bug” was considered a ticking time bomb for all major computer y2k2 applications. Much has been done to avert a Conficker disaster, but nobody knows for sure what will happen. April 1st is a day of foolery, but this year it may also be a major breakthrough for hackers, good or bad, to see who is top dog. See Robert Siciliano, identity theft speaker, discussing viruses in peripherals here. I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information.

Identity Theft Prevention is a People Problem

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By RobertSiciliano · March 19, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Every week we learn of a new hack, another breach, credit cards stolen and another identity theft victim. Many have blamed the bad guy or criminal hackers for all the problems we have in the security world. And while the bad guy is certainly a problem, they are a small part. The people responsible for their own physical or computer security or the security of others are often the guilty. You wonder why your credit card company sent you a new card? Because some baboon didn't do his job and your were compromised. baboon Chances are we could look at 7 out of 10 data breaches and point to someone who didn't properly flip a switch or lock a door. Recent studies polling companies with 1000 or more employees when asked to define the most important measures for protecting confidential data, nearly half of all respondents said, "communicating and training users on confidential data security policies." And when asked to rate their organizations performance with regard to, "communicating and training users on confidential data security policies," more than one-fourth of security professionals gave their organization a rating of either "fair" or "poor." North Americans ranked 24% as being “poor” while Europeans ranked 38%. I suspect the North Americans are just lying and are just as lax. I read the papers and see the data. Pleeeeze. I have my eye on you Focker. focker Security is not entirely an IT problem. There are many “to-dos”, policies in place regarding physical security that must be observed. And if followed properly, would reduce many of the breaches we see. One plain and simple example is dumpster diving. How prevalent are shredders? I’ve gone though 4. Besides the copy machine or your desk/laptop, a shredder should be the most used home/office appliance. Here is an infuriating video of a dumpster diver here, also a security professional who spent 3 minutes in the dumpster of a local bank. He found a laptop, wire transfers and Social Security Numbers. That’s not an IT problem. That’s a stupid-lazy-people problem. dunce How is anyone supposed to feel secure and protect their identity when others are responsible for our security? The fact remains we are an open sore and idiots keep pouring salt in the wounds. Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Idiots who didn't secure a wireless connection and exposed 45 million credit cards Here I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information.

A Day In The Life of A Scammer

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By RobertSiciliano · March 18, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert How can I get you to believe me? What can I say or do to convince you I'm legit? What methods should I use to pull it off? I don’t have a job. I’m essentially unemployed. However I do have a career. And it involves figuring out ways to get others to pay me. Every day I perform tasks to bring eye balls to what I’m offering, selling or trying to get. What is this vocation? Scammer. scammer I work all over the world, I travel and meet interesting people. I like what I do, every day is a new and exciting opportunity. There’s a sucker born every minute. Today I’m looking for you. And I’ll find you. All day, every day my one goal is to get you to part with your hard earned dollars and here is ONE DAYs worth of reports of my activities: Scammers Hawk Man's House On Craigslist Man who owns a rental home in Dennisport found scammers offering up his home for rental on the Web site ... Online Scammers Creating Fake Local News to Attract Your Clicks ... scams Transferring money for someone else If you agree to take part, the scammer could use your account details to clean out your savings. Great way to steal an identity. But there are ways to protect yourself. Scammers customize news to deliver you malware The scammers are using IP address geolocation techniques to figure out what city the recipient lives in and are localizing the fake bomb news to that ... Scammers using Twitter To Get Your Information The SC Department of Consumer Affairs is warning twitter users to be on the lookout for scams, particularly phishing scams. Scammers target animal lovers in classified ads This time, the scammers lure in their victims with the offer of cute pets to tug at their heartstrings. "A lot of them get placed online," Officials say scammers taking advantage of people seeking jobs in ... State officials are warning about scams affecting those seeking jobs during the current economic downturn. State officials are warning about scams ... Stimulus Money Scammers Target Families As soon as the government's big stimulus package was approved, scammers got on the internet and started trying to get their hands on the money. ... Art Dealers Accused of Rigging Appraisal He was the consummate con man. He created this image that he had a huge collection of wonderful paintings. The impression given, and taken, was that he was ... Scams abound, costing locals tens of thousands The ... The victim is approached by the con man holding a wallet or bag containing cash. The con man shows the money to the victim and asks if it belongs to her, a way of breaking the ice to set up the scam… swcammer2 More than 1000 women conned by rogue marriage agency ONE woman was conned into offering her life savings, while another was duped into sleeping with a man by a rogue marriage agency specializing in foreign ... Lightning rod scam zaps local elderly couple Officials fear the lightning rod installer may be scamming other elderly couples so they're urging Residents Effected By Scammers Washing Checks "They take that check thats made out to CPL has your signature on ... they wash off the amount and the to thats where it becomes check washing. ... I worked hard today. Its a hard way to make an easy living. But it was fun and always funny to see you get all bent out of shape when I read about you in the news. Tomorrow is another day, and another scam. Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Scams Here I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information

Fake IDs, Fake Passports Easy To Make or Buy

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By RobertSiciliano · March 16, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Fake IDs aren't just a tool to get in a bar, they are a significant threat to personal security and national security. Who in their teens and college years didn’t have a fake ID? I did. At 17, I was 23! That meant I could buy alcohol, go to bars and take others to “R” rated movies. It also meant I was a ROCK STAR. For a minute. id_collage A friend of mine peeled apart Massachusetts IDs and melted crayons together to create colors that matched the IDs colors. He would apply the crayon to the face of the ID and alter the persons age. For example if you were born in 1968, he would color the left side of the 8 the same color as the ID making it a 3. 1963 gave you five extra years to party!! Then he’d just seal it back up and voila! You were a ROCK STAR. CNN reported the Government Accountability Office did a test. An investigator used a fake ID to get a real passport. Once he had the passport he bought an airline ticket and went through security. How stupid big is that hole in security? passport Robert Siciliano Former DHS Secretary Chertoff said, and I agree; "I’m going to submit to you that in the 21st Century, the most important asset that we have to protect as individuals and as part of our nation is the control of our identity, who we are, how we identify ourselves, whether other people are permitted to masquerade and pretend to be us, and thereby damage our livelihood, damage our assets, damage our reputation, damage our standing in our community.” The problem here is the speed of technology has far outpaced the security of our identifying documents. Anyone with a computer, scanner, printer, laminators and for crying out loud CRAYONS can create breeder documents getting real IDs. This makes it very difficult to prevent identity theft when anyone can be you any time. What contributes to the problem is there are thousands of variations of birth certificates, dozens of social security cards and a couple hundred different drivers’ licenses in circulation. Very little security and no significant standards preventing counterfeiting. I’m sure plenty will argue this point with me, however the fact remains, fake IDs are everywhere. Identity theft protection becomes very difficult. While technology certainly exists to properly identify and authenticate through numerous technologies, privacy advocates and ignorant politicians will fight till the death to prevent their implementation for 2 reasons; 1. Cost, which is a naive argument. 2. Privacy issues. Cost; spend whatever it takes to properly identify and authenticate. Privacy; is DEAD. Security is the issue we need to be concerned about. Manage out circumstances and tighten things up. The UAE has an “Identity Card” in place that is the best active solution I’m aware of. There are hundreds of solutions being proposed every day, but cost and privacy continue to creep up. One argument some have is technologies such as RFID and biometrics are the equivalent to the Mark of The Beast. That just goes right over my head. The Real ID Act has been passed, slammed and revisited. It is the first step towards effective authentication. Fight it as you might, its coming. real_id_sensenbrenner1 Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discusses Identity Theft and the rampant use of Social Security numbers Here I’m excited to work with uni-ball in 2009 in a partnership to help raise awareness about the growing threat of identity theft and provide tips for protecting yourself. Check out uniball-na.com for more information

Neighborhood Identity Thieves From Hell

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By RobertSiciliano · March 9, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert Speaker Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Unfortunately your enemies could be living in your home or across the street. As the economy tanks, people get desperate and thieves victims become those in their lives. With all the hullabaloo about criminal hackers and identity thieves organizing as webmobs from all over the world, people often forget that it’s the people in our lives that are the closest to us who often perpetrate these crimes. Especially in tough times, identity thieves could be someone in your inner trusted circle. I’ve consulted on stories where the dad stole his child’s identity. Those closest to us at home or work have direct access to our data. "Familiar" Identity theft happens because the thief goes through a process of rationalizing their ability to commit the crime. The process is often referred to as the “Fraud Diamond”. First they have Incentive. They say “I want to or have a need to commit this crime”. Next is Opportunity. They see a hole or weakness in the system they can easily exploit. And of course Rationalization; “I have convinced myself it is worth the risks”. Lastly, Capability; they determine they are the right person for the job and can pull off the scam. Here a local neighborhood was terrorized by a drug addicted mom and dad who had a penchant for technology and used their skills to feed their habit. Much of the crimes they committed could have been prevented. 1. Get a credit freeze or fraud alert 2. Invest in a locking mail box 3. Shred all throwaway paper work 4. Turn off the paper 5. Turn on WPA security for your wireless network 6. Pay attention to all your statements and refute unauthorized charges 7. As a national spokesperson for uni-ball, I recommend using a uni-ball® pen, which contains Uni “Super Ink” formula, to write checks and sign important documents. This specially-formulated ink won’t wash out and protects against check washing. Those closest to you have access to your canceled checks and can rewrite to themselves. Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker Expert discussing family identity theft Here

Twitter Is a Security Mess

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By RobertSiciliano · March 7, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker Expert Mischievous Hack attacks on Twitter are increasing and it seems there is no end in sight. While twitters developers are working to make it more secure, the open nature of the application fuels mischievous and even criminal hacking. Twitter is microblogging. In 140 characters or less you tell your followers what you are doing or point them towards something that may enhance their lives. Most Tweeple are twits and say nothing of value. Their tweets are mundane and serve no benefit to anyone. If you don’t use Twitter thats OK. But there is a chance you eventually will. Many thought they’d never use Facebook, but millions do. Micro blogging is a weird phenom that makes sense to many, and not at all to most. Users can get tweets via email, on your phone or via SMS texts. People have sent tweets while giving birth, in the crowd watching the Obama inauguration, celebrating New Years, and just about anything you can think of. I’m on Twitter. I spend my energies informing my readers about security. The most effective tweets have a pithy title related to an article, blog post or TV appearance. All security related. Since Twitters inceptions hundreds of 3rd party applications have been built around Twitter. Apps that enhance, manage or are just for fun. Much of twitters technology is an open book which has allowed hackers both good and bad to build these apps, and of course wreak havoc. One such hack is using a Twitter accounts mobile phone number to spoof messages to the users followers. Other Twitter hacks have included full account take over where messages were sent to all followers of Obama, Britney Speakers, Fox and a CNN anchor. Recent studys also show that Twittersquating, when brand names are hijacked is also a problem on Twitter So if you decide to Twitter, know that its not very secure and be cautious about plugging your mobile number into the system. Robert Siciliano Identity theft Speaker Expert discussing Scams Cons and Schemes Here

Identity Theft Tax Time Scams

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By RobertSiciliano · March 5, 2009 · 0 Comments ·
Identity Theft Speaker Expert Robert Siciliano We are approaching tax time. Scammers are ramped up and looking for your money. Learn these tips and watch your back. Protect and prevent Identity Theft. 1. Text messaging scams or Phexting Like phishing but texting); Criminal hackers have access to technology that generates cell phone numbers and access to mass text messaging services. They send texts that install keyloggers or direct you to websites that steal your data. 2. Tax Preparer Scams; Reports of tax preparers who tell their clients they have to pay back their 2008 stimulus checks, then pocket the money 3. Basic Phonescams; Using the telephone for scams is back. Scammers call your home posing as local fire dept collecting your personal information for their records in case their is an emergency 4. Caller ID Spoof; New technologies that allow anyone any time to mask what shows on your caller ID and pose as an official, lottery or authority to get you to reveal data or write checks. 5. Late Payment Scam; As people fall behind on their utilities or taxes, lists are created and available either internally or as public record. These lists fall into the wrong hands and thieves call you to collect. 6. Affinity Fraud; The Madoff scandal has inspired a new generation of cons to adopt the Ponzi once again 7. Advanced Fee Fraud; Now more than ever if it seems to good to be true it is. Desperate times mean desperate people are making bad decisions and getting taken to the cleaners 8. Work at Home Scams; Millions of people laid off, millions looking for a job. There isnt a newspaper in the country that doesnt have a work at home scam ad. 9. Foreign lottery scams; The promise of money is overseas, not here at home and criminals are using the phone, email and snail mail to find their victims. 10. Identity Theft; Identity theives raised the bar in 2008 and ID Theft went up 22%. It will go up again in 2009. 11. Check Washing; Checks lost, stolen, pulled from the rubbish, stolen from your home or the entity you wrote it to are equal to cash when they are written with a pen that the ink washes out of. Check washing is almost a billion dollar problem. I'll have a video for you soon on this. Uni-ball pens makes a cool pen that prevents "check washing". Check washing is using household chemicals that literally wash the ink out of the paper, but the thief will leave your signature in place or do other things to reissue the check and get themselves paid. Uni-ball pens with Uni-Super Ink help prevent identity theft," Says Steve Gradman, who is senior brand manager of uni-ball. Their goal is to help ease the minds of individuals when writing sensitive materials - from legal and medical documents to checks and tax forms. It's a simple, inexpensive pen, but it packs a lot of punch when it comes to identity theft prevention." As an advocate for uni-ball, I will happily be sharing many more exciting product offerings designed to help your business and your family protect yourselves! Have a question about identity theft, Email me!” Who knew a pen packed a punch! Cool! I say if you can stop "check washing" with a pen for a few bucks then thats a smart investment. I got a pen (a few actually, a couple in the home office, one in the kitchen, one in the car, 2 in my laptop bag because I'm always losing them when I travel.) I've known about check washing but haven't seen lots of reports on it, because banks don't like talking about it and the victims are embarrassed by it. So its not often reported in the media. I found him on Twitter if you tweet. When a scammer tries to wash or lift the inked information written on the document, the ink remains "trapped" within the fibers of the paper, thereby discouraging the efforts of identity thieves.

THIEVES INITIATE NEW IDENTITY THEFT SCAMS IN TIME FOR TAX SEASON

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By RobertSiciliano · March 4, 2009 · 0 Comments ·

uni-ball® teams with Identity Theft Resource Center and Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano to Warn Consumers of Latest Scams and Offer Anti-Theft Solutions 

Oak Brook, Ill. – March 4, 2009 – Tax time scams are at an all-time high, according to Robert Siciliano, well-known identity and security theft expert and author of the book “The Safety Minute: How to Take Control of Personal Security and Prevent Fraud.”  As economic pressures continue to increase, Siciliano says criminal activities such as sophisticated, organized theft, including the number of new scams intended to trick consumers this tax season, are expected to rise as well. 

“More than 155 million tax forms were filed last year,” said Siciliano, “the majority of them without incident.1  But people need to understand that thieves are inventing new ways to steal identities each and every day.  And since tax time is a key period when we see a spike in identity theft, it’s crucial that we get the word out now and educate people about the latest scams.”  

As part of the its ongoing campaign to elevate awareness about the growing threat of identity theft, uni-ball®, a leading brand of pens, many of which contain specially formulated ink that helps prevent check fraud, is working with the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and Siciliano to help stop identity thieves in their tracks.   As CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, Siciliano has seen first-hand the brute blow identity theft delivers to its victims, and has helped scores of them dig out from the financial and emotional turmoil of being scammed.  

Together, the ITRC, Siciliano and uni-ball are issuing the following warnings, asking consumers to be on high alert during tax time for these identity theft scams and more:

·         Professional Thieves and Targeted Attacks.  The ITRC anticipates an increase in more sophisticated ways to “mine” information, sometimes by organized crime groups. Cybercrime, which includes transporting or selling large amounts of personal information from one group both nationally and internationally, will continue and expand. Part of this trend includes “skimming” (duplicate scanning of credit cards or debit cards), and the use of fake fronts on payment scanners and ATM machines. 

uni-ball® teams with Siciliano to promote simple anti-theft solutions during tax season - Add One

·         Tax Preparer Scams.  Most recently, there are reports of tax preparers telling clients they must pay back their 2008 stimulus payments and then pocketing the money.  Not all professional tax preparers have your best interest at heart, according to the ITRC.  Make sure you do research and choose your tax preparer wisely.

·         Check Fraud. As it becomes more difficult to get new lines of credit, identity thieves may be increasingly drawn to commit check fraud. These crimes may take the form of stolen checks, using checks thrown into the trash by unknowing consumers, or a type of identity theft known as “check washing.” Check washing occurs when checks or other tax-related documents are stolen from the mail or by other means and the ink is erased using common household chemicals, allowing thieves to endorse checks to themselves.   This is where something as simple and inexpensive as a uni-ball pen can help.  Select Uni-ball pens contain specially formulated gel ink (trademarked Uni-Super Ink™) that is absorbed into the paper’s fibers and can never be washed out. 

·         Late Payment Scam.  As people fall behind on their utilities or taxes, lists are created and available either internally or as public record. These lists can fall into the wrong hands and thieves call unassuming people to collect.

  • Text Messaging Scams: Phexting.  Criminal hackers have access to everything these days, including the technology that generates cell phone numbers, as well as access to mass text messaging services. Once the data is secured, they are able to send text messages that install keyloggers (a method of capturing and recording user keystrokes) or direct you to Web sites that steal personal data.

·         Internet Scams: Phishing.  Phony e-mails that try to trick customers into giving out personal information are the hottest, and most disturbing, new scam on the Internet. "Phishing" frauds attempt to make Internet users believe they are receiving email from a specific, trusted source, or that they are securely connected to a trusted Web site, when that is not the case.  This scam is generally used as a means to convince individuals to provide personal or financial information that enables the perpetrators to commit credit card, bank fraud or other forms of identity theft.

“Identity theft is a giant octopus,” said Siciliano.  “Educate yourself on the many facets of the problem and learn your options to defend yourself from each leg of this monster.  Doing something as simple as paying attention to the pen you use could save you thousands of dollars and endless hours of headaches.  Personally, I never write checks or sign important documents without using a uni-ball gel pen with specially formulated Uni-Super Ink.”  

“Uni-ball pens with Uni-Super Ink help prevent identity theft,” said Steve Gradman, senior brand manager of uni-ball.  “Our goal is to help ease the minds of individuals when writing sensitive materials – from legal and medical documents to checks and tax forms.  It’s a simple, inexpensive pen, but it packs a lot of punch when it comes to identity theft prevention.

uni-ball®teams with Siciliano to promote simple anti-theft solutions during tax season - Add Two 

Many uni-ball pens, including the uni-ball 207 gel pen, the Jetstream, Jetstream RT and Vision Elite roller ball pens, use specially formulated inks that contain tiny color pigments.  This exclusive “Super Ink™” helps prevent document and check fraud by absorbing into the paper fibers. When an individual tries to wash or lift the inked information written on the document, the ink remains “trapped" within the fibers of the paper, thereby discouraging the efforts of identity thieves.

Identity theft rose 22 percent in 2008, and Siciliano predicts it will go up again in 2009.   “Now is the time to become educated in order to prevent this offensive crime,” he said.

 For more information on how to protect yourself this tax season, visit www.uniball-na.com

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1 http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=188359,00.html 

About uni-ball®

uni-ball® is a world leader in providing an optimal writing experience, offering writing instruments with superior functionality and affordability.  From the JetStream® pen’s smooth write to the intense color and superior performance of the uni-ball 207 gel pen, the brand allows one to enjoy the ultimate in writing performance coupled with a distinctive, contemporary style.  Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, marketer and distributor of uni-ball® pens in North America, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization and technology products, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, DYMO® Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Visit www.uniball-na.com for more information.

About Robert Siciliano

Robert Siciliano "The Lifesaver" is an expert on personal security and identity theft. He has 25 years of experience in self-defense, security work, martial arts and white collar crimes.  An author, sought after media personality and identity theft speaker, Robert has been seen on the Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CNBC, USA Today, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Readers Digest, Consumer Digest, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, ABC News.com, TechRepublic, Search Security, AP, UPI, Reuters, and Entrepreneur. Robert recently released his third book, “The Safety Minute: How to Take Control of Personal Security and Prevent Fraud”.

About the ITRC

The San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a non-profit (501(c) 3) organization established in December 1999, to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft. It is the on-going mission of the ITRC to assist victims, educate consumers, research identity theft and increase public and corporate awareness about this problem.  

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