No Right to Privacy warnings are a simple way to protect yourself from spying on people. (If you think you might want to try trapping hackers with your home network, you'll want to know about this one.)
But seeing one come up on a US Government website made me roll out with laughter....
While I was writing about tax-time identity theft I came across this little gem - IRS Form 5071C. This one is bound to go down in infamy (like the British UB-40 - Unemployment Insurance Application.)
This form gets sent when the IRS decides they want to verify you are who you say you are. The most common reason for getting one right now is because someone has filed taxes under your social security number already - a fraudulent tax return.
But it's a step in the right direction, and you can even fill out the verification information online!
I've been told my sense of humor is everything from dry and "sardonic" (whatever that means,) to dark and snarky. Maybe it comes from seeing so many things in the spotlight of irony. Take the current US/China cyberwar over privacy and hacking.
We caught them using spies to sink American businesses - that's pretty low, I admit. But you can find government guides on precisely how to use economic warfare tactics like that to weaken a government's hold on its people, and you can find those publications online! America has even been accused of doing similar things (although those stories seldom make the 7:00 o'clock news here in the states.)
*shaking head* I never really understood politics anyway.
Two articles geared toward my business-owner readers in a single month - I guess the identity theft business is booming.
Increasingly, government regulators are taking harsher steps against companies that suffer data breaches. The recent judgment against York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University shows that there is a growing "take no prisoners" attitude being taken toward companies that don't bother to look into the basics of protecting personal information.
The PPACA (or "Obamacare") has been a work in progress, to be certain. At the end of July, new privacy regulations will go into effect that will impact some companies that haven't had to worry about privacy compliance issues before now. Primarily set in place to direct Health Information Exchanges, these requirements will sweep up large chunks of the insurance industry, as well as all healthcare providers.
So my fiancée and I are hanging out, and the phone rings. She picks it up. "Sorry, wrong number."
Boy, did they ever pick the wrong date night to interrupt. Turns out this is a phishing scam that primarily operates under the name of Greentree - not to be confused with the real Greentree company that is NOT making phishing phone calls. But here's what I dug up over an afternoon...
Taking a few minutes out of the schedule here to talk straight to my favorite entrepreneurs, small business owners, because this one is a nightmare waiting to happen.
When one of your employees suffers a medical identity theft, there's a high cost to your business. It's in everyone's best interest to take the bull by the horns, and address the issue before it even comes up.
We don't talk as much about criminal identity theft, primarily because it really only affects the victim, and a select cross-section of our culture - specifically those involved in law enforcement.
When someone commits a crime and is arrested, they may not give their own information to the police, they may use someone else's - including yours. I call this "criminal identity theft". It can make a total mess out of a traffic stop, and (more importantly) it ties up law enforcement arresting someone who is not the person they are looking for, instead of letting them handle actual crimes and locate actual criminals. That's the purpose of the California Identity Theft Registry.
It must have been bad luck that I got interested in identity theft early on. Sure, I've been able to help people out when they've become victims, and people are always asking my opinion on the subject, but in the end, there's not much in the way of good news. Perhaps the most disappointment crops up when someone asks me "What can I do about identity theft?"
The short answer is "Not much."
So, I don't just write about identity theft, I often work with victims to help them get their lives back in order, and will help the rare insurance professional who is interested in taking care of those risks for her clients. But always it seems I'm getting involved in conversations about the subject. What do I hear most often? "Nobody would steal my identity, I'm broke."
Unfortunately, the money is just the tip of the identity theft iceberg, though. The hottest piece of information an identity thief can get from you isn't actually a bank account or credit card number, but your social security number.