Sunday, June 27, 2010

Do you value and protect your social networking connections?

Recently an article at explored the importance of including access to social media sites in your Last Will and Testament. The rationale is excellent, and we’ve written about it before.

I read this story, and the more I thought about it, and as I tallied my social network sites and blogs, I realized that the digital assets I’ve worked to create have as much, or more, meaning to me as many of the physical possessions I have listed in my Will.

As I compiled my information, I also realized that while I have always been protective of my Will, I would now be even more diligent in securing it so that my private data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands – while storing it in a way that allows my loved ones quick access should it become necessary. (Coincidentally, we also posted “The Keys to a Well-Kept Safe Deposit Box” just a few weeks ago.)

It may be time to take another look at your plans. If you do have them in writing, or intend to do so, be sure to keep sensitive information secure. It’s never a good thing to have your personal/private information fall into the wrong hands!

By Adam Huckeby, Creative Director at Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Pre-Paid Legal works to continually highlight identity theft and legal related stories that impact our lives every day. We make them available via our corporate media room. You can find our story highlighting the above issues here and here. Pre-Paid Legal's signature products, including the Life Events Legal Plan and Identity Theft Shield, serve more than 1.5 million families in North America.

Friday, June 25, 2010

McCoy in the News

Michael McCoy, co-author of The Silent Crime: What You Need to Know About Identity Theft is now in Orlando, Florida for an industry conference and for several presentation's on identity theft.  Below is a link that will give you all the details to Michael McCoy's upcoming and recent interviews on Florida radio and tv.

Use the Michael McCoy calendar link to keep up to date on McCoy's travel schedule. Thanks and hope to see you in a town near you. 

To request Michael McCoy to speak in your area send a email to


Michael McCoy

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Information Assurance (security) - One of the best in the world

Iowa State University Information Assurance, Warfare, Cyber Attack, Identity Theft, Cyber Terrorism Defense Specialization. One of the best programs in the world.

I'm proud to be part of the team! Short testimonial video by students.

Stay tuned here for our national ID Theft Awareness Certification program rollout in the fall. For insurance, law enforcement, banking, non profit, education, and corporate compliance with FACTA, Red Flag and Due Diligence.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is Your Future Clouded?

By Aleshia Altizer

Do you use web-based email like Gmail, enjoy online banking/bill paying, or use an online file storage device? If so, you’re already taking advantage of cloud computing. There are differing definitions, but basically, “cloud” is another word for the internet; and cloud computing is where data or software is stored, accessed or shared via the cloud. In other words, instead of having physical access to a computer or hard drive, data can be stored remotely on computer servers and accessed through providers. This enables users to access their data from anywhere and from any net-enabled device. An article from MSN cites a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that found 69% of online Americans use at least one cloud service. A Forbes article cites a statistic from Cisco that 1 trillion devices are expected to be connected to the cloud by 2013. Just imagine how much information could eventually be stored in the cloud! This could also open a whole new realm of privacy concerns; and points out that there aren’t standards for security in the cloud, yet.
Cloud computing has big possibilities for companies, as well. A New York Times article explains that cloud providers hope companies will stop building and managing their own data centers, and instead use the provider’s computer capacity. According to the article, though many companies are still cautious about entrusting data to the cloud, many including NASA have begun to utilize cloud technology to some degree.
This is the digital age and we’re charting a whole new frontier: With it comes increasing concerns over privacy, cybercrime, and identity theft. In light of all this, it’s important to have an identity theft service in place along with access to legal counsel so you can understand and stay on top of new and existing laws and know how they apply to you. It’s clear in times like these the need for legal and identity theft services is only growing.

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Aleshia Altizer is a Corporate Writer at Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Pre-Paid Legal's signature products, including the Life Events Legal Plan and Identity Theft Shield, serve more than 1.5 million families in North America.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Customize Your ID Theft Service

"Customize Your ID Theft Service"
Over the years, dozens, if not hundreds, of so-called "identity theft protection services" have been developed, with only a handful having any real substance.  Many of these companies have either gone bankrupt or have changed their names and re-presented themselves like how ID Rehab changed into ID Watch Dog.  What if, instead of marketers just reinventing the same wheel, YOU could customize your own identity theft protection service??  What would you like to see included?  Here's your chance!
I want to hear from you, the consumer -- what types of features are important to you in an "identity theft protection service?"  Send all your suggestions to and be sure to mention what product or service you may already have. 
It is time to get serious and build the product that will best serve you, the consumer.  Our research at Iowa State University is taking a REAL look at what is fluff or perception only and what is real substance.
Remember the old adage, "you can't complain if you didn't participate."  This is a chance to customize the response to identity theft in a way that will truly meet the needs of the end user and not just the design team of the developer.

Sound Off!!

email me @:

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Red Flags Or No Red Flags, Businesses Need To Act

The FTC may imply that part of the latest Red Flags enforcement delay is to await clarification which pending legislation may bring, but the reality is that the legislation is purely an appropriation consideration not an appropriateness one! In other words – for the pending legislation to consider whether or not certain potential indicators of data fraud in the workplace ought to require attention or not begs the question. Of course they should! The real issue is whether the needed attention can be afforded.
According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s infamous “chronology of data breaches,” over 300 million data breaches have taken place between April 20, 2005 (the date it began tracking breaches) and the time of this writing. Assuredly, if any of the victims of those millions of data breaches were asked if their data was less worthy of protecting than others the answer would be NO!
The Red Flags Rule, as it’s commonly known, is designed to ensure that entities that extend credit detect, prevent and reduce cases of identity theft under penalty of fines.
Originally passed in 2008, the FTC just announced that enforcement of its Red Flags Rule is yet again delayed – this time allowing compliance through December 31, 2010.
The pending legislation will determine if it ought to extend to workplaces with fewer than 20 employees, but common sense would tell us that protection from identity theft ought to be extended to all. If common sense dictates that, then, Red Flags or no Red Flags, all businesses ought to do everything they can to protect data on their own – for even if applicability is decided, monies to assist may or may not be attached.

By Sue B Martines, J.D.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010


Have you ever walked up to a photo copier, placed documents with sensitive info on them, closed the lid, and pressed the big green button? You know the documents, the ones you're determined not to leave on the glass when you're KNOW that if someone had that information, you risk identity theft - or potentially face embarrassment or other consequences if that information became public. You're careful to check the paper tray twice; making sure you didn't accidentally make duplicate copies - and if you do, you shred them right away. And, just to make absolutely sure, you hit the "clear" button a few times for good measure. NOBODY is going to get your private information! No one will ever know what you just copied! You know better than to let that happen...right?

But, did you ask if the copier has a hard drive installed on it first? If so, did you ask what precautions are taken to ensure your private information does not fall into someone else's hands? For a sobering look at just how easy it would be for your information to fall into the wrong hands, take a look at this CBS News story, and this New York Times story. You'll be glad you did.

Pre-Paid Legal works to continually highlight identity theft and legal related stories that impact our lives every day. We make them available via our corporate media room. You can find our story highlighting the above issues here. Pre-Paid Legal's signature products, including the Life Events Legal Plan and Identity Theft Shield, serve more than 1.5 million families in North America.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Book Review Preview – “Cyber War,” by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knape, 2010

Written by two gentlemen from intentionally disparate generations – a tricenarian (someone in their 30’s) and a sexagenarian (someone in their 60’s), as though modeling for us the evolution from a relatively theoretical threat to a very real one, unpeel not only the chronological journey but also the practical impact of a modern day cyber war. Imagine your city’s system of traffic signals being out of sync due to lengthy blackouts, or your financial records being rearranged or pipe system exploding??
Yes, indeed, this would be a different kind of war. Authors Clarke and Knape posit that US civilians have one of the greatest chances of high impact in such a cyber war, and in fact, that countries are already positioning themselves for battle. And these writers should know – Clarke served as a counterterrorism advisor to both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Knape won a prestigious Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations to study cyber war.
Our own Pentagon, the authors recap, admit to thousands of “pings” a day upon their computer armor – probes from foreign computers seeking to penetrate where weaknesses may lie. And on occasion, they succeed – fighter planes not yet in the air have had their details hacked into. And our nation’s very own computer supply chain is global and not necessarily trustworthy they point out… (for example, even while you’re reading this article, your computer could be “drafted” into a cyber war against a foreign bank, without your even being aware).
Some solutions are presented that may benefit readers – for instance, if you’re going to make purchases online, use a card with a low limit used solely for that purpose, they suggest; use your work computer at work, and your home computer at home; and make sure your online bank uses more than just a password for its security protection. But how would one protect from the story outlined in Cyber War?
Their book describes a supposedly hypothetical scenario where hackers incapacitate the US from behind their computer screens. In an NPR “Fresh Air” interview, author Clarke admits he cannot explain why such a hypothetical situation hasn’t already come to pass . Couple that fact with the point that the government is predominantly focused on protecting our nation’s defense capabilities… This writer can’t help but reminisce upon the Y2K preparations and wonder about the value of their revival…
Reviewing, Cyber War: The Next Threat To National Security And What To Do About It, Copyright 2010, by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knape, published by Harper Collins, and as reviewed on
Sue B Martines, J.D.

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