Cyber Security

Understand Medical Identity Theft

Jacob Cavaleri - understand medical identity theftMedical identity theft is often over-looked and not discussed enough. It’s a form of fraud in which someone uses your personal information to receive medical services and bills your insurance or Medicare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, roughly 1.5 million adults are found to be victims of this each year. It’s important to understand medical identity theft and to protect yourself.

Understand Medical Identity Theft

You may be a victim of medical identity theft if:

  • You get a bill for services you did not receive;
  • You’re told by your insurance company you have hit your limit on benefits when you have not; or
  • You receive a denial for coverage of a nonexistent medical condition.

If someone steals your medical identity, your records are compromised. That means you could  experience misdiagnosis, delays in treatment, or inappropriate care.

Reduce Your Risk

Taking a few quick, proactive steps to protect yourself may reduce your risk and save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.

  • Give personal information only to approved medical professionals.
  • Remove prescription labels before recycling or discarding the containers.
  • Shred papers with personal information before throwing them away.
  • Review your medical and insurance records periodically for suspicious information.
By |2022-06-28T07:48:51-07:00July 18th, 2022|Current Affairs, Cyber Security, Health Care, Insurance|

Conquer Your Paper Piles

Shannon Curkendoll - conquer your paper pilesWe’re living in an electronic age. Yet, many of us still have piles of paper throughout our homes. Money and finances are the biggest culprits when it comes to paperwork – bills, bank statements, insurance records, loan documents, investment accounts, and the list goes on. Here are some guidelines to help conquer your paper piles.

Sort and Organize

Tackle one pile at a time, and sort papers into  categories, like Pay, Read, File, Shred, and Recycle. You may find important receipts, unpaid bills, and other important items you didn’t realize were there. You’ll also probably find a lot of things you don’t need to keep. This flow chart can help you sort and organize.

Convert to Electronic

Once you’ve sorted your piles, you’ll probably find items and accounts that can go electronic. At Perspective, we converted client files to a secure online portal years ago (which clients can access at here). Important items like estate planning documents, insurance paperwork, and loan documents can be scanned and uploaded to your Perspective document vault.

Things like your credit card, phone, and utility bills can be managed online with text/email notifications or auto-pay.

After you’ve sorted your documents and determined which ones you need to keep in printed form, designate an easily-accessible place in your home where they can be filed and stored.

IRS Impersonation Scams on the Rise

IRS impersonation scamsAs the new year begins, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers to protect their personal and financial information. Be aware there are many IRS impersonation scams that try to trick people out of their hard-earned money via text, email, and phone. This tax season, the IRS also warns people to watch out for signs of potential unemployment fraud.

Text Message Scams

Last year, there was an uptick in scam text messages that impersonated the IRS and referenced COVID-19 and/or stimulus payments. These messages often contain bogus links claiming to be IRS websites or other online tools.

Other than IRS Secure Access, the IRS does not use text messages to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. The IRS also will not send taxpayers messages via social media platforms.

Unemployment Fraud

Many states have experienced a surge in fraudulent unemployment claims filed by organized crime rings using stolen identities. Criminals are using these stolen identities to fraudulently collect benefits. You may be a victim of unemployment identity theft if you’ve received:

  • mail from a government agency about an unemployment claim or payment for which you did not file. This includes unexpected payments or debit cards, and they could be from any state;
  • an IRS Form 1099-G reflecting unemployment benefits you were not expecting or did not receive. Box 1 on this form may show unemployment benefits you did not receive or an amount that exceeds benefits you did receive. The form itself could also be from a state in which you did not file for benefits; or
  • a notice from your employer indicating the employer received a request for information about an unemployment claim.

 

For more on keeping your financial data safe, click here to read our article on cyber security.

By |2022-02-11T15:32:34-07:00February 28th, 2022|Current Affairs, Cyber Security, Taxes|

Uncover Fraud

Uncover FraudBeing cautious about fraud schemes can help keep you and your finances safe. To help you uncover fraud, here are a few common scams occurring today.

Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites.

Tech support scam: Criminals claim to be technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues.

Grandparent scam: Frauds pose as a relative – usually a child or grandchild – claiming to be in immediate financial need.

Home repair scam: Scammers appear in person and charge homeowners in advance for home improvements.

Investment scam: Criminals offer unsuitable investments, fraudulent offerings, and unrecognized products.

Uncover Fraud with These Scam Protection Tips

  • Search online for the contact information and the proposed offer.
  • Resist pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and need for immediate action.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door service offers.
  • Never provide any personally-identifiable information or wire money to unknown or unverified people or businesses.
  • Ensure all computer anti-virus and security software are up to date.
  • If victimized, take precautions to protect your identity and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
Source: Arizona Bank & Trust

In this digital age, privacy requires extra effort for each of us. Read more tips about cyber-security in the article below.

By |2021-10-12T11:13:22-07:00November 8th, 2021|Current Affairs, Cyber Security|

Cyber Security Checkup

Curkendoll-WEBCyber attacks on government agencies and major companies around the world are on the rise. In the past several months, ransomware attacks have breached networks for Microsoft, the Irish Department of Health, U.S. Colonial Pipeline, and JBS meat processing in North America and Australia, to name just a few. After hearing such news, the idea of protecting your personal data can seem overwhelming or futile. Yet, conducting a cyber security checkup — quick a review and update of your accounts and electronic devices — can help more than you might think.

Following are some steps you can take to simplify and maintain cyber security efforts. Each only takes a few minutes to complete. It’s a worthy investment of your time. Block 15 to 20 minutes in your calendar this week to conduct a cyber security checkup.

Use antivirus software, and keep apps and software current.

Make sure you have trustworthy antivirus software installed and updated to protect your computers and mobile devices from viruses and malware. Keep software up to date with the latest patches and upgrades. Sign up for automatic updates.

Close or delete unused accounts.

The smaller your online presence, the more secure your information. Take a few minutes to close unused accounts and minimize your vulnerability. Sign up for account activity notifications to help you keep track.

Use multi-factor authentication.

Also called two-factor authentication, this requires a second credential to verify your identity. (e.g. It may require entering a code sent in real-time by text, email or phone call.)

Use screen locks on every device.

Set a password or PIN for every laptop, smartphone and tablet you own. Any lost device without a screen lock is a gateway for someone to access your email, banking and social accounts; thieves can change passwords and take control of your digital life.

Check your data-breach status.

A data-breach, or being pwned (pronounced pōned), means your personal data has been stolen and possibly sold. At haveibeenpwned.com, you can check your email addresses against lists from 120 known company breaches (i.e. Adobe, LinkedIn, Facebook, Daily Quiz). Be sure to change the password for any compromised accounts, as well as any other sites where you used the same password.


Beware of Phishing

Phishing is a malicious text or email that seems to be from a trusted source. The object is to trick you into clicking on a dangerous link or providing confidential information. Common warning signs include:

  • A message you didn’t expect or that comes from a person or service you don’t know.
  • Spelling errors or poor grammar.
  • Strange or mismatched sender addresses.
  • Mismatched links (a seemingly legitimate link sends you to an unexpected address).
  • Odd links or addresses.
  • Requests for passwords, account numbers, personal information or answers to  security questions.
  • Offers that seem too good to be true, or messages that express great urgency.
By |2021-06-11T16:34:54-07:00June 15th, 2021|Current Affairs, Cyber Security|