Listen to this conversation between Dr. Charles Knutson of the Internet Safety Project and Linda Criddle about online safety, security and privacy, the impact of online information in job discrimination, the ways government exposes consumer information online, how to approach online safety from a practical point of view, the safety considerations for seniors, the ReputationShare product, and more.
Safe Internet Alliance CEO, Linda Criddle, discusses a growing crime against children on the Internet, Child Identity Theft. Organized crime groups target children to steal their identities for financial gain. Children have, what Linda calls, “virgin credit.” Stealing their Social Security Numbers is ideal because the crime may not be detected for years. Children’s identity can be stolen at any time, but the sweet spot for identity theft is aged 17-25 years old.
Linda offers these tips on protecting your child’s identity against identity theft: 1) Check your child’s credit report annually. You can check your child’s credit report for free once a year at each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. 2) Put a freeze on your child’s credit. This process costs approximately $10. You can go to any one agency and freeze credit.
The Safe Internet Alliance is pushing legislators and credit agencies to make one small change that will reduce child identity theft. Requiring the credit issuing companies to take one additional step to look for red flags is all it takes. If credit issuing agencies would check teh date of birth of the person seeking credit and match it against the Social Security Number, that would reduce identity theft. How likely is it that a Social Security Number that has been issued two years ago (indicating a child of two years old) would need a credit card or mortgage? Of course, this would be a guideline. There are legitimate cases where an adult would have a Social Security number that is new, such as immigrants to this country that are issued a Social Security Card or people who had to have their Social Security Card reissued because of Identity Theft.
We also discussed cyberbullying in this interivew.
Listen to this chilling and thought provoking interview below:
Herb Weisbaum, MSNBC’s Consumerman, interviewed Linda Criddle, President of LOOKBOTHWAYS Inc., and president of the Safe Internet Alliance, in the wake of the Craigslist murder robbery about how consumers can better protect themselves when using classified sites.
Criddle highlighted the need to remain anonymous, to protect your home by arranging to meet in a public place with lots of people around, and to never go alone.
“The risk is always there when you have a person-to-person meeting,” Criddle cautions. “And the steps needed to mitigate those risks are always important.”
For small items that are easily transported arrange to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, at a time when there are plenty of people around. Bring someone with you – for added security and peace of mind.
Criddle says when a transaction involves a significant amount of money you might want to meet at your bank. And she’s not kidding.
“You want to be in the safest environment,” she says. “Well, this is the safest environment for you and it’s also the safest environment for the buyer. There are security cameras there, people and often a security guard.”
This way, you don’t have to walk around with a lot of cash. You can deposit it as soon as the sale is done.
Read the full article MSNBC article here:
Linda Criddle, president of Safe Internet Alliance chatted this morning with Ken and Julie on KFNN Financial News Radio in Phoenix, AZ on the need for increased focus on internet safety education in schools and in the National Broadband Plan. She also helped listeners understand the the four categories of online threats that include financial, emotional, reputational and physical threats against property or persons, and gave examples of how online threats are manifest in users of various ages.
Linda Criddle, president of Safe Internet Alliance chatted this morning with Bill Meyer host of the Bill Meyer Show on Fox News Radio in Medford OR on the need for better internet safety education, the most common mistakes people make online, tips on creating safe passwords, the Alliance and it’s goals, and the need for the industry to build safer online services, and consumer education.
Listen to Linda’s recent radio interview with Al Korelin on the Korelin Economics Report
The following article is the first interview in a series between Jessica Walker who rites Safer in the City for SaferDates.com and Linda Criddle. SaferDates will be running interview segments twice a week on their site or the next few weeks.
Jessica: What should our members do to prevent their identity and or financial information (i.e. credit cards, account numbers) from being stolen on or offline?
Linda: A few key steps can make a real difference in protecting your identity and financial information.
Consider what information about you is online – Search to find the total set of information that you – and others – have shared about you online. What have you posted, friends posted, family members, employers, schools, groups, associations, clubs, teams, and church groups, posted? If you donate to charities, do their sites place your name and amount of donation on their sites? Have you ever posted a resume? (There is nothing wrong in posting resumes, but restrict contact and address information until you’re actually interviewing, and TAKE IT DOWN when you’ve landed the job!). Check online county records; if you own property find out how much information is available on you and your property – I’ve seen cases where in addition to the basic information, the registrar’s office also displays information about floor plans, and loan papers – which include the name of the lending institution, the loan number, and people’s SSN’s and signatures. Look to see if they show power of attorney documents, what information is available on your birth certificate, and of any children’s birth certificates. If previously married and divorced what information can be gleaned from these records? Once you have a firm understanding of your footprint of possible exposure, work to remove, or have removed, any information that you don’t feel is appropriate. Discuss with others where your privacy boundaries are so that they do not over-share about you, and ask others for their boundaries so you can be respectful of their safety and privacy needs as well.
Secure your computer. If your computer isn’t protected from viruses and other malware your financial information, your passwords, and everything else you store on your computer or do online will be abused. This concept is so basic, yet only 20% of the US population adequately protects their computers. If the cost of security software is prohibitive, use one of the excellent free services.
Use strong passwords. Passwords do not have to be hard to remember, just hard to guess. Never use information about yourself as a password. They need to be long (8 or more characters) and use uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. This isn’t hard to do. For example text messaging short-codes can really help make this easy – 2BorNot2B? (To be or not to be, that is the question) or MaybeL8r (maybe later).
Check your credit history and freeze your credit. I’d guess that less than 10% of people consistently check their credit histories to ensure nothing is damaging their credit scores. By law, you have the right to three FREE reports each year. You may choose to pay to have a company monitor your credit for you, but unless you’ve had real trouble with ID theft in the past this is probably not a necessary expense. If you are not actively seeking a line of credit now or in the next month, freeze your credit. This is one of the simplest things you can do, but a step that few actually take. This blocks anyone from taking out a loan or opening a new credit card in your name. It’s easy to do – contact one of the credit bureaus – and is either free or low cost depending on their criteria.
Only purchase from reputable online stores. The price may be cheaper at a store with no reputation, but you don’t want to gamble with your financial information. To find out if a store has a good reputation, the Better Business Bureau has an online site where you should be able to look up this information. Keep all purchase confirmation emails in case you need to dispute something.
Beware of scams. Far too many people ‘give’ away their information to criminals by falling for scams in email and on the web. NEVER use a link provided to you to get to a site, find the URL yourself. You want to be in the drivers seat when going to sites online – that way you end up where you intended to, not on a clever fake site.
Physical world requirements. In addition to the safety steps above, physical items need additional protections. Shred financial documents; far too many people are careless with financial materials yet more ID theft is still carried out the good old dumpster diving way. Protect your possessions like your wallet and purse because a significant amount of ID theft is done by someone the victim knows, including parents, siblings, children and close friends.