Beware of Scams This Holiday Season

PPL Media Room- By Aleshia Altizer

Beware of scams this holiday season It’s hard to believe, but the holiday shopping season is already here. Before you hit the stores with your shopping list, here are a few tips from the Better Business Bureau on avoiding scams this season:

- Shopping online: Use caution if you spot an online deal that seems too good to be true. You could end up paying for an item you’ll never receive.

- Online auctions and ads: Research the seller (look for ratings, comments from other purchasers, etc) and never wire money as payment. Remember if you have any doubts or reservations about the sale, trust your instinct and don’t make the purchase.

- Shopping at stores and malls: When you’re out and about doing your shopping, be mindful of your purse/wallet. Don’t get so loaded down with purchases, or distracted in the stores, that you lose track of these important items. If you use an ATM, remember to cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

- Charity Donations: If you want to donate to charity this holiday season, make sure to research the charity and where your money is going. (Remember, you can check out charities through the BBB, too.)

- Phishing email: Beware of the emails you open/respond to as it could be scammers trying to get your personal information. Don’t open attachments or click any links unless you have confirmed they aren’t malicious.

If you’re a Pre-Paid Legal member, you have toll-free access to experienced lawyers with your Life Events Legal PlanSM, 24/7 emergency access with Legal ShieldSM, and access to a variety of identity theft services, including restoration experts, with the Identity Theft ShieldSM. It’s a good time to have peace of mind as the holiday shopping season begins.

Learn more about our Identity Theft Shield

Over 500 Million Sensitive Records Breached Since 2005

As of today, 8/30/2010, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

510,421,323 RECORDS BREACHED SINCE 2005

The most recent total from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s Chronology of Data Breaches shows more than a half billion sensitive records breached since 2005, leaving Americans vulnerable to identity theft. Employees losing laptop computers, hackers downloading credit card numbers and sensitive personal data accidentally exposed online — the Chronology of Data Breaches shows hundreds of ways that the personal information of consumers is lost, stolen or exposed. The Chronology of Data Breaches, a project of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse since 2005, lists incidents involving breached consumer information, such as personal medical records, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.

The most recent total, published August 24, 2010, is a wake-up call to consumers who think identity theft can’t happen to them. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse estimates that the Chronology shows only a fraction of the total number of data breaches.

See the complete list of data breaches…

Is that hard drive really erased?

When you buy a new computer or have one repaired do you realize your sensitive data is still recoverable even though you may have deleted your files?

Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. Eraser is currently supported under Windows XP (with Service Pack 3), Windows Server 2003 (with Service Pack 2), Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Eraser is Free software and its source code is released under GNU General Public License.

Why Use Eraser? Continue reading