With all the high-tech ways that hackers and identity thieves can help themselves to your money, it’s easy to forget that the “old school” methods are still a very real threat. Things like dumpster diving for your discarded credit card offers or stealing your mail from your curbside mailbox still carry the possibility of a crime.

One viable method of wreaking havoc with your identity is to have your purse or wallet go missing, either through loss or theft. If that occurs, your checkbook can provide an opportunistic thief with a short-lived but still hefty payday.

If you notice that your checkbook is missing, there are some important steps you should take:

1. Is it lost or stolen?

This can be hard to determine, but if you’re able to tell whether it was just misplaced (maybe your wallet fell off the roof of your car when you drove away) versus actively stolen, your next appropriate steps can change. If you’re certain it was just dropped or left behind somewhere, call your bank and have those check numbers invalidated. If you aren’t certain about the numbers in your checkbook, they may be able to help you trace back which numbers you’ve already spent, and go from there.

2. Placing a freeze

If you can’t figure out the numbers or if you aren’t certain this was an accident, your bank might put a freeze on your account. It’s temporary but immediate, and it can prevent a thief from spending money in your name. That’s why it’s important to contact your financial institution as soon as you know something’s wrong.

3. Closing the account

Ultimately, your bank may decide that closing the account is the best option, especially if someone got a lot of checks or your bank cards. They will usually meet with you to determine which pending transactions are valid, such as any automatic bill pay items like your power bill, and help you establish a new account.

4. Transfer those draft payments!

If you do have to open a new account, make sure you think about all of the automatic draft payments you have, such as utility bills, gym memberships, or other recurring items. You don’t want a constant reminder of this headache every time your electricity is shut off or your membership expires for non-payment.

5. Decide if a police report is warranted

If you think you might have just lost your wallet, you might not need a police report. However, it’s a good idea to contact your local law enforcement office anyway and let them determine if you need to file any paperwork. After all, the person who finds your missing wallet might not be honest and could use your identification or your cards for fraud. If you do know that it was stolen, then you definitely should alert the police and file a report.


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App.

It has been a particularly disturbing couple of weeks as headlines throughout America highlight how some of our most powerful financial institutions were being hacked by alleged foreign powers. It all began on September 17 when the FBI issued a joint Bank Fraud Alert with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

whitehouse hackedThe Bank Fraud Alert warned banks and financial institutions that hackers were using Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to take down their consumer websites to distract both the consumers and bank cybersecurity while millions of dollars were fraudulently wired out of peoples’ accounts. The very next day, Bank of America was reported to have website problems and consumers were having trouble accessing the website and their bank accounts.

On September 19, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank was reported to have similar problems as their website went down and consumers could not access their bank accounts. That same day, FS-ISAC raised its Current Financial Services Cyber Threat Advisory from “elevated” to “high” for the first time in its history. A few days later on September 25, Wells Fargo suffered website outages followed by website problems for U.S. Bank and PNC Bank the next day.

A hacker group by the name of Izz ad-din Al qassam Cyber Fighters has been claiming responsibility for these DDoS attacks, but experts warn that it is more likely that an organization with far more money and capabilities is responsible for these attacks. Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, stated in a C-SPAN interview that he believed Iran’s government sponsored the cyber-attacks.

Now, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Sunday that alleged Chinese government hackers had breached a computer system associated with the White House Military Office. A White House official confirmed that hackers had breached an unclassified computer network, but emphasized that the network had no unclassified information and no data appeared to have been stolen.

Apparently, the breach was made possible by a spear phishing attack, which involves the use of a message that appears to be authentic and contains a file or link to be clicked on which then installs malicious software onto the computer. The Senate blocked the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 in August which was designed to help bolster cybersecurity in critical infrastructures in the United States, leaving the Obama administration to consider issuing an executive order to improve cybersecurity instead.

“First the Banks, Now the White House” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to the ITRC_Blog.

Identity theft is a term now common in the American vernacular. Though the term is familiar, what it represents is often misunderstood by large segments of the consumer population. Many people commonly associate the term with someone making illegal use of a credit card number. By most current definitions however, that type of crime is more properly referred to as credit card fraud and is no longer considered a true example of identity theft. So what exactly does the term “identity theft” mean?

The best working definition of true identity theft is simple: The improper or illegal use of someone’s personal identifying Information (PII). It’s that simple. PII is defined as any information that uniquely identifies you as you. More specifically, your social security number, passport, birth certificate, driver’s license or state ID card, and similar documents that alone, or in combination, are unique to you as a person. ITRC considers that your PII can be used to commit several different types of identity theft. We classify these as five (5) basic types of identity theft: financial, criminal, medical, governmental, and cyber/reputational. There is also child identity theft, but other than the age of the victim, these are always one or more of the 5 types above.

  • Financial: Financial Identity theft is simply when someone uses another’s PII for financial gain. This can include using a SSN to open a new line of credit, a utility bill, a student loan, etc. Unlike the unlawful use of an existing, and legitimate credit card, these new fraudulent accounts may exist for extended periods of time before the victim becomes aware of them. Checking your credit reports or getting a call from a collection agency are two of the most common ways financial identity theft is discovered. Victims should file a police report and then dispute any fraudulent charges with the various affected merchants and creditors.
  • Criminal: Criminal Identity Theft occurs when someone has successfully impersonated the victim when dealing with law enforcement. This can be accomplished a multitude of ways. The most common is when a thief uses a victim’s SSN, Name, and perhaps date of birth to acquire a driver’s license. In the event this thief is cited or arrested by a member of law enforcement, the thief will pretend to be the victim thereby creating a fraudulent criminal history for the victim. Victims of this form of ID theft should have their local police fingerprint and mug shot them, and when appropriate send that information to whatever the arresting or citing law enforcement might be, so they can get issued a letter of clearance from the court, clearing them of responsibility.
  • Medical: This form of identity fraud occurs when a criminal makes use of the victim’s PII (such as an SSN or Medical insurance card/number/Medicare card etc.) to receive medical treatments and benefits and then leaves it to the victim and their insurance carrier to pay the bills. These events may also leave mixed medical records, which can be a significant problem to the victim. There is also a growing trend used by illegal pharmaceutical sellers as well as prescription pill addicts to use someone’s identity to steal prescription drugs without leaving a paper trail back to them for anyone to follow. Victims of medical identity theft need to get in touch with their insurance provider as well as the place where the procedures were performed, or where the medical supplies/drugs were purchased, and inform them of the fraud. This should include showing proof of that this misuse was brought to the attention of law enforcement.
  • Governmental: This is when the victim’s PII is used to acquire government benefits that the thief would not otherwise be entitled to. Things like government grants and loans, welfare assistance, even a large tax return a victim might be owed from the IRS are all strong motivators for criminals. Often those in this country illegally will have reasons to engage in governmental Identity theft in order to find gainful employment, or avoid detection. In addition to previously listed steps, victims should request an “earnings history report” at their local branch of the Social Security Administration. This report will show where someone has been working, and can be useful in mitigating the fraud.

Cyber/Reputational identity theft is the newest emerging form of identity theft. This involves the use of one’s name, likeness, online passwords or other associations in order to exploit or damage one’s reputation, or perhaps to gain access to their contacts or emails, or just to spam someone’s online relationships with advertisements or Trojans. Mitigation for this type of theft is best done through contacting the site administrator. (i.e. for a fraudulent Facebook profile, the only way to resolve the issue is through dealing with Facebook staff directly).

For additional questions or concerns, please contact the ITRC. ITRC provides no-cost toll-free assistance to consumers and victim at (888) 400-5530, or itrc@idtheftcenter.org.

“Classification to Mitigation: What You Need to Know about the Multiple Faces of Identity Theft” was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to repost the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to the ITRC Blog.

Last week someone in my family asked me if I could help them with their computer. I asked them what was seemed to be wrong with the machine. They told me that it would start normally at first, but as soon as Windows was done loading they would get a pop-up that they had been infected with a virus that was above the level of what their normal anti-virus could handle. They were told that they needed to pay for this additional coverage to remove the problem. Unfortunately, they continued, and paid for the “extra service.”

This person, like so many of us, is not stupid. In fact, they are very intelligent. However, what is taken for granted as basic computer safety knowledge by theransomware younger generations is may be an unknown area of knowledge to those who never created a Word document for a paper in High School, never had a Facebook account that their parents monitored, and were never taught even the fundamentals about Cybersecurity. Today, when the Internet is no longer an option but a necessity for most of us, cyber criminals are finding an easy target in people who may be using the Internet and a personal computer for the first time.

I asked this family member if they had current updated anti-virus security on the computer, and they were not quite sure what I was talking about. This I could believe, as many people who were raised in the age of Internet still don’t know the importance of having an anti-virus with updated virus definitions installed on their computers. Good antivirus programs are perhaps the best way to protect yourself (and computer) from many of the threats, including viruses, malware, and cybercrime exploits. This ounce of prevention can save people from spending a pound on a cure.

Unfortunately for my family member, it was “too little, too late” for the prevention approach, and they had to take their computer in to have it fixed. This one event cost much more than an anti-virus program would have cost, not to mention the money paid to the Cybercriminals behind the Ransomware, and the time and frustration of the related computer problems. While it comes as little comfort to my family member now, this story has taught a lesson; use an anti-virus, and keep it up to date, always.

This experience also shows how easy it is to fall for the Ransomware scams, and how important it is to educate people about the current Cybercrime trends. Perhaps the next family night we will not be breaking out the Scrabble, but instead a Power Point presentation on Cybersecurity.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to consider taking part in the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Anyone3 fundraising campaign.  For more information or to donate please visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org/anyone-3.

The IRS has been dealing with an epidemic of tax fraud and identity theft. An audit report prepared by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) estimated that 940,000 tax returns involved identity theft in 2011. The same audit report estimates that in addition to those, another 1.5 million fraudulent tax returns may have been submitted but not detected by the IRS. Fortunately, in 2012 the IRS has been taking additional steps to help stem the flow of these fraudulent returns. In the TIGTA audit, several recommendations were made to the IRS, and IRS Commissioner of the Wage and Investment Division, Peggy Bogadi, provided details on how the IRS would act in response.

 

The IRS will seek legislative authority in order to use the National Directory of New Hires to cross reference information submitted in tax returns to determine whether they are fraudulent or legitimate. This will be in addition to verification using third-party income and withholding information that is already in place. Also, the IRS has established the Identity Theft Clearinghouse, a specialized unit within the Criminal Investigation Division, which is completely devoted to the analysis and development of identity theft leads. This effort will include developing new processes such as filtering for changes in taxpayer circumstances from year to year to target identity theft exploits. These actions are being implemented now, but the IRS has several more planned actions that will take place starting October 15, 2013.

The first of those 2013 changes would use Social Security Administration data to help detect false Social Security benefit income and withholding claims at the same time that tax returns are processed. Second, the IRS intends to work with the Financial Management Service (FMS), which is the agency that administers government-wide direct deposits on behalf of the Department of the Treasury. This effort would ensure that the deposits of refunds are only made to debit card bank accounts that are held in the taxpayer’s name. Third, the IRS will cooperate with the FMS to limit the number of tax refunds directly deposited into a single bank account or debit card. This action would prevent multiple refunds being deposited into the same identity thief’s account, a common occurrence. Lastly, the IRS will work with the Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to develop stricter regulations that would ensure authentication of each person’s identity that purchases debit cards. After this change is implemented, the IRS would no longer deposit refunds to those debit cards accounts that are with financial institutions that do not enforce this authentication.

While it is clear that the IRS has a significant fraud and identity theft problem, they are clearly taking a very aggressive, proactive, and multifaceted approach to reducing these crimes (and making the IRS more efficient at the same time). The real test of how successful these measures are will come in April 2013 when approximately 240 million new tax returns will be filed.

“IRS Takes New Steps to Prevent Fraud” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC_Blog

Ohio State Attorney General, Mike DeWine, has announced the creation of an Identity Theft Unit to help victims repair their credit and other problems. As a part of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section, the Identity Theft Unit will offer two different ways for victims to receive assistance in resolving their issues.

The first, called Self-Help Assistance, will offer detailed guides for a victim of identity theft on how to attempt to resolve any issues created by the identity ohio maptheft. The Attorney General’s website offers a downloadable form which a victim can download, fill out, and return to the Attorney General. Once received, the Attorney General’s Office will send information including instructions, contact information, and documents directly to the victim. In addition, the victim will be assigned a Consumer Advocate to help them with the process should they require assistance at some point.

The second form of assistance is called Traditional Assistance, a remarkable and ambitious program. Victims who do not feel comfortable tackling the task of rectifying their good name and credit after identity theft will be provided a Consumer Advocate who will personally communicate with credit agencies, creditors, and collectors. The Consumer Advocate will continually keep the victim informed as their case progresses. In order to receive this level of assistance, a victim must submit a copy of a police report as well as complete and submit an identity theft affidavit and an identity theft notification form.

In addition, the Ohio Attorney General’s website also posts information regarding Security Breach Information, Redaction Requests and Teaching Materials. Among the redaction requests information, forms are posted allowing individuals and safety officers to officially request that certain personal information be removed from the Internet. Programs like this one are a necessary and important step to effectively protect, educate, and assist individuals on the risks and dangers associated with identity theft.

“Ohio Attorney General Establishes New Identity Theft Unit” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC_Blog

Two days ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center jointly issued a Fraud Alert to financial institutions warning them of alarming trends in unauthorized wire transfers overseas in amounts ranging from $400,000 to $900,000. The Fraud Alert explains that after targeting financial institution employees with spam and phishing e-mails, the cyber criminals installed keystroke loggers and Remote Access Trojans to be able to completely access internal networks and logins to third party systems. In other cases, the cyber criminals stole employee and administrative credentials allowing them to avoid verification methods used by the financial institutions to prevent fraudulent activity.

This enabled them to peruse through multiple accounts, selecting those accounts with the highest balances to conduct wire transfers from. According to the Fraud Alert, the cyber criminals were able to “handle all aspects of a wire transaction, including the approval… obtain account transaction histories, modify or learn institution specific wire transfer settings, and read manuals providing information and training on the use of US payment systems.” The Fraud Alert theorized that the cyber criminals used distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against the financial institutions’ public websites as a distraction to keep them occupied and distracted while fraudulent wire transfers were being conducted.

Yesterday, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center raised their Current Financial Services Sector Cyber Threat Advisory from “elevated” to “high,” leaving the Physical Threat Advisory at “elevated.” Soon after, Reuters reported, “the consumer banking website of JPMorgan Chase & Co was intermittently unavailable to some customers. The problems followed issues with the website of Bank of America Corp on Tuesday amid threats on the Internet that a group was planning to launch cyber attacks on a U.S. bank.”

This incident occurs amid the heated debate in Washington over how to bolster the cybersecurity in the United States and reminds us just how important cybersecurity is in this new digital age. We must consider as a nation, the impact cyber attacks from criminals, terrorists, or other countries can have on us as a whole. Imagine what could happen next time financial institutions were attacked if the main goal was not to steal millions of dollars but to take the whole banking system down? In order to improve, there has to be change on a national level. The challenge now facing us is how best to balance the competing interests of privacy protection, avoiding over-regulation, and providing room for effective individual cybersecurity protocols.

Senator McCain’s SECURE IT Act has yet to reach the Senate floor, but will likely face intense scrutiny over the potential lack of government regulation and concern over privacy protections. Even modest improvements to our national security picture will require that we put aside the contentiousness and work together in earnest. Unfortunately, it seems that Congress may not be up to that task and President Obama might have to resort to issuing an Executive Order. This action, by its nature, will create more strife and disagreement in an already gridlocked Congress.

“Banks Warned of Heightened Cyber Threat by FBI” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC Blog.

A report released by Norton (Symantec), a leader in cybersecurity that develops antivirus, anti-malware, and other related products and software, demonstrates just how pervasive cybercrime is in today’s digital age. The report was the final product of 19,636 interviews of adults, parents, children, and teachers from 24 developed and emerging countries.

cybercrimeThe report confirms that cybercrimes are becoming more common than normal “offline” crimes. This may be due to the fact that cybercriminals are very difficult to find, even as they continue to commit more criminal acts. Norton found that there are approximately 1,000,000 cybercrime victims every single day of the year. This amounts to a cost to society in the amount of $388,000,000,000 ($388 Billion) in just 2011. Of that amount, $114 billion accounts for money actually stolen or money spent to resolve cybercrimes. The remaining $274 billion of that money is in the form of time and costs to victims dealing with cybercrimes. To give a better idea of the staggering size of cybercrime’s financial costs, Norton compares the $388 billion cybercrime cost to the global black market of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined at $288 billion. In fact, the sum of all global drug trafficking is valued at $411 billion, only $23 billion more than cybercrime costs.

Unfortunately, the spread of cybercrime is unlikely to slow down as the number of people using the Internet, computers, and especially mobile devices increases. Of those surveyed, 69% of all adults have been a victim of cybercrime, and of those, 65% were victims in 2011 alone. The report shows that the more time one spends online, the more likely they are to become a victim of cybercrime. This is supported by their results which show that 75% of “millennials” (aged 18-31) have been victimized at some point compared to only 61% from the boomer generation. Usage of mobile devices to peruse the Internet is widespread and growing, with 44% of mobile device owners using their device to surf the Internet, and nearly 60% of millennials doing the same.

Even more disturbing is that the spread of cybercrime to these mobile users is just beginning. In 2011, 10% of all mobile device users online had fallen victim to cybercrime. Considering that the number of mobile users surfing the Internet is already large, and that the number will certainly go up as time goes on, it is safe to assume that mobile device related cybercrime is inevitably going to increase. In this society, even a minor increase in percentage of victimized users, will be a very large number of individuals affected.

Despite the staggering number of cybercrimes being committed on a yearly basis, the public perception of these crimes continues to underestimate how severe and common they are. Of the people interviewed, 44% had been a victim of cybercrime in the last year while only 15% had been a victim of some form of offline crime. That mean that cybercrime is nearly three times more common than “off-line” crimes. The perception problem is that, of the people surveyed, only 31% thought that they were more likely to become a victim of cybercrime than offline crime.

This misconception helps explain why 40% of adults surveyed did not have an up to date security suite to protect their personal data. Not only are consumers not adequately protecting themselves online, but only 21% of actual victims reported the cybercrime to the police after becoming a victim. This perception that cybercrimes aren’t quite the same as offline crimes might be reinforced by the lack of avenues to get help after becoming a cybercrime victim. Of those who reported suffering both cybercrime and offline crime, 59% felt there were fewer ways to get help after the cybercrime.

It is clear from Norton’s Cybercrime Report that cybercrime is here to stay and should be considered a high priority by law enforcement and consumers who use the Internet. People must be educated about the risks associated with Internet use and encouraged to protect their personal information in this digital world. The next time you are about to log onto the Internet from your desktop or mobile device, take a moment to consider whether you have taken enough steps to protect yourself from cybercrime.

“Norton Cybercrime Report 2011: Painting a Dismal Picture” was written by Sam Imandoust, Esq. He serves as a legal analyst for the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC_Blog.

It’s a scenario that unsettles most people; the loss or theft of your wallet or purse. Your ID cards, all your credit and debit cards, receipts, any number of other valuable documents, even pictures with sentimental value might be lost.

While there’s no way to completely protect oneself from the sting of such a loss, the best way to reduce such difficulty is to ensure that only the things you really need with you all the time are the things you carry, and to leave the rest at home. The difference between a temporary headache and a life-long issue can sometimes boil down to what you did or didn’t have in that purse or wallet. Below are five things you should (almost) NEVER carry around in a purse or wallet:

  • Social Security Card (or any piece of paper with the SSN written on it): This is one of the biggest mistakes, and generates many calls to the ITRC.wallet Identity theft springing from a stolen social security card carried in a wallet or purse is among the most common ways people become victims. If you lose your wallet and the Social Security card was in it, unlike a credit or debit card, you cannot simply cancel the card and change the number. This number is what’s known as a “unique identifier,” meaning that number is unique to you, and only you, and cannot be changed in all but the rarest of cases. With that Social Security number and little else, a criminal can take over your identity, open new accounts in your name, work under your name, create new drivers licenses or state ID’s in other states, and on and on. Unless you have need of your Social Security card THAT DAY, do not carry your Social Security card around in your purse or wallet. This document, more than any other, changes the loss of a wallet from a temporary hurdle to a life of constant increased vigilance and paranoia.
  • Birth Certificate: Possibly the only thing more damaging than losing a Social Security card is the loss of a birth certificate. Your certificate of live birth is the first and fundamental document issued by the government and it is the document from which all other documents spring. A birth certificate can get you a replacement Social Security card, a passport, a driver’s license, and many other forms of identification, virtually anything. Since this document is considered by government and financial institutions as the bedrock identifying document, once a thief has possession of it, it is virtually impossible to prevent fraud. At that point, your only recourse is to try and clean up the mess after fraud has already occurred. This document is the single most destructive one in existence if it falls into the wrong hands. Obviously, something like this should never be carried around where it could be easily lost or stolen.
  • Account and Routing Numbers: If you’re not going to the bank today, why are you carrying around the account and routing number to your checking account? In the wrong hands, these numbers can be used by a thief to clean you out, overdraw you, and leave you stuck with the financial loss. Unlike the loss of a check or credit card, simply canceling the card will not prevent a thief with access to your account numbers from making use of your account. One must actually close the account and open an entirely new one. In the interim, you will have to file a police report and dispute with the bank any fraudulent charges. You may get your money returned after the conclusion of an investigation, but in the meantime, you no longer have access to your money. Avoid carrying these numbers around unless really necessary. If you do lose an account number, immediately set up a verbal password with your bank to protect against any unauthorized access to your account.
  • Password Cheat Sheets: I know, in today’s highly integrated electronic society, you might have as many as 10-12 passwords you need to remember for various accounts. More than you can probably remember on your own. To give yourself a little help, you wrote them down in one place you’ll know to look in the event you can’t remember one of them. Good trick, but DON’T leave it in your wallet. Even if the passwords aren’t linked to paper to any particular account, it’s a GREAT cheat sheet for any thief looking to do additional damage. Keep your password cheat sheet where it belongs, at home.

 

  • Passports: A passport is a quintessential document necessary for international travel. This document, because it is government-issued is also useful in acquiring a new Social Security card, driver’s license or state ID card, and can be used as an identifying document in acquiring a loan or opening a new credit account. Unless you’re leaving the country today, leave that passport at home.

Do you love a discount? You’re not alone. Most people do. And that’s just what Facebook is banking on with their new “Facedeals” project, which sends coupons and discount offers directly to your phone. The only catch: when you use your coupon they snap your picture.

Facebook dealThe program essentially functions as follows: a camera is installed in a business. The camera scans your face as you enter, checks you in on Facebook and sends your phone a text message offering you a targeted discount. A “targeted” discount or deal is a coupon for an item or service that’s viewed as within your range of interests, based on your Facebook “like” history. Merchants use this data to selectively advertise to you, making it more likely you’ll be interested and less likely that they will waste time and resources sending you a coupon for a product you’d never use.

Of course, in order for this program to take effect you must choose to sign up for it, and let Facebook scan and store facial recognition data about you based on your tagged Facebook photos. As more pictures are approved, the app gets more precise in its ability to identify you based on what you look like. Once you sign up for this program you will be automatically identified and tagged at any store or shop you frequent that has a Facebook Camera installed.

No doubt this is another impressive new development in our ever more rapidly advancing technological society. What’s the harm in offering you targeted deals seamlessly and easily right? Well, perhaps none, but certainly there is a potential for misuse and dangerous privacy implications. Mum’s been the word on how this data will be stored, what will be permissible uses for the data, and what if any third parties could request access to such data? Could the government access it under the right circumstances? What about retailers, marketers, or various merchants? You can see that without defined rules, the line could easily be blurred to a dangerous point.

Now everywhere you go, you could potentially be checked in without your knowledge. Every store you visit, every time you leave your house. Once you’ve signed up for this technology there isn’t a way yet to select where you do and don’t want to be checked in, or under what circumstances you feel comfortable broadcasting your whereabouts and purchasing habits to the general public. Once you sign up, it’s entirely plausible that your friends, family, and yes those ultra-aggressive creepy Facebook stalkers can track your daily movement and purchasing habits with a click of a mouse. It’s a spooky thought.

No doubt many will disregard the near certainty of significantly diminished privacy in favor of 50% off a sweet new smart phone cover. But when that creepy ex that you’ve been avoiding since high school just “happens” to bump into you at the mall, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

“Facebook Facedeals Raise Serious New Privacy Concerns” was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC_Blog.