identity theft

How Can I Protect My Identity Online?

privacy

Episode 1770

Ed from Orange County, CA

Ed has an Apple Mac Air that he uses with Tunnel Bear VPN. He wants to do whatever he can to protect himself from identity theft. Leo says that there are several things he can do. First, register his own email domain. That way, anything that he signs up for, will come to him and he can see if that information gets sold. Then he can block the address because he knows it's been sold. Check out MySudo.com.  It lets users create a unique email and phone number for signups that aren't related to their own email.

Has my personal information been hacked?

HaveIBeenPwned.com

Episode 1726

Jim from Oneida, NY

Jim is getting a ton of emails, that his accounts are being reset. He's worried. Leo says that if your password has been changed, that could be a bad sign you've been hacked. So go into all your accounts and change the passwords again. Set up 2 Factor Authentication for your phone. This will prevent someone else from doing that. Stop using related passwords. Use passwords that are random and distinct for every site. The only way to handle that is with a password manager like Last Pass. You can also set up an authenticator, like Google Authenticator or Authy.

What Can I Do If My Apple ID Has Been Hacked?

iCloud

Episode 1723

Leslie from Riverside, CA

Leslie thinks she's been hacked after she called Apple and gave them remote desktop control. Leo says that wasn't Apple. Leo suggests backing up her data and then wipe the computer completely. Do the same to the iPhone. Then create a new iCloud account and just start over. Leo would also recommend talking to her phone company about a new phone number. Ask them for a PIN number on the account. 

Did I Get Hacked By Spectrum?

Spectrum

Episode 1695

Bill from San Diego, CA

Bill noticed his cable bill was higher than it should be. So he tried to use the online chat feature to get support. About an hour later, he discovered that his password had been changed by the support people, and he also learned that his account was hacked by the support person. Leo says that Bill should report them right away. He did and has not received any reply. What's his next step? Leo says that what Bill will want to do is go to all his accounts that use that email and reset passwords. It's a hassle to be sure, but a must.

Has my email been hacked?

Episode 1560

Suzanne from Placentia, CA

Suzanne uses Hotmail and all of a sudden, she's getting hundreds of spam from subscribed newsletters. She also got an email about an order for a GoPro camera bought at Walmart. Leo suspects that someone doesn't like Suzanne or has stolen her identity. It's a new scam where hackers overwhelm your email address with bulk emails to distract you from the actual identity theft going on. It's called "Chaff." The idea is to be so overwhelmed with spam and bulk emails, you miss the stolen credit card activity. Shame on companies that allow signups without a double opt-in via email.

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

ID Fraud

Episode 1559

Mara from Los Angeles, CA

Mara was a victim of identity theft, and just narrowly avoided having her brokerage account drained. Leo says that Mara should change her password and turn on 2 factor authentication right away. Leo suspects the bad guys got her information from a database breach like the Collection #1 or the Marriott hack. Leo also suggests going to haveIbeenpwned.com/passwords and see if her passwords have been compromised and are known.

How can I protect my ATM card?

Episode 1517

Jay from North Carolina

Jay's mother is having issues with her bank, that here ATM card is getting accessed over and over again, even though the bank has reissued the card with a separate number. How can that be and what can he do? Leo says that a smaller bank may have lackluster security. Protections are much better on credit cards, than debit cards. You can only be on the hook for $50 with a credit card. With a debit card, the limits are higher. Always keep possession of your debit card and use a credit card for other options, like online purchases, or eating out.

Has my iMac been compromised?

Apple iMac

Episode 1478

Adam from Pasadena, CA

Adam bought an iMac from a private seller. It still had Apple Care and he had it transferred to his name. He's worried that there was a keylogger on it and his credit card was compromised. Leo says that unless he wiped the computer himself, he won't know if it's compromised or not. Leo says that it's probably not the Mac, but just in case, Adam should wipe the drive himself. It's really easy to wipe an iMac drive and reinstall the OS. It could be that Adam's iCloud account has been compromised.

Is LifeLock safe?

LifeLock

Episode 1385

Val from Los Angeles, CA

Val is interested in LifeLock and wants to know if it's safe. Is it? Leo says yes. They were a bit over confident in the early days, but they are dedicated to getting in between you and identity thieves by putting fraud alerts on your credit history. But now they can't do that because of lawsuits. So now they own companies that are built to target fraudulent credit activity so that if anything unauthorized occurs, you get wind of it and they can shut it down. They will also help you fix your credit record should you be a victim of credit card fraud.

Are credit monitoring services worth the money?

Episode 1277

Louis from Hollywood, CA

Louis keeps getting emails from LifeLock, and he wants to know if the service is worth the price. Leo says that he's been a subscriber for ten years, and he got it to protect his kids. Leo's opinion is that they do a great job monitoring your credit to be sure nefarious activity doens't crop up, and when it does, they can help you fix it. It's not cheap, but Leo has never had any problem and has no plans to stop using it. But you can put a fraud alert on your own account which will warn you when someone tries to open up credit.