Scam Jam happening Friday

Category: Protect Your Credit
Published: Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Written by Super User

An official from the NC Secretary of State's Office will discuss the risk of fraud in investment schemes as well as fake charity scams, and will offer important tips for steering clear of con artists.

The event will be held on Friday, October 9 from 9 am to noon at the Moore County Senior Enrichment Center, located at 8040 US-15 in West End. This event is free and open to the public. Media coverage is welcomed.

Scam Jam is designed to educate the public about a range of financial issues, including investment fraud, identity theft and medical fraud. There will also be presentations on how to protect your credit card information and how to put a protective "freeze" on your credit report. The event will include presentations from the NC Secretary of State's Office, the NC Department of Justice's Consumer Protection Division, and the NC Department of Insurance's Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP).

The Secretary of State's Securities Division enforces and administers the State's securities laws, which are designed to protect the investing public. The Division investigates complaints and allegations of fraud involving securities brokers and dealers, investment advisers and commodities dealers. Contact the Division, toll-free, at 1-800-688-4507 to verify the registration or disciplinary history of a securities salesperson or the salesperson's firm. For investor education and protection information, please visit the Securities Divisions website at


Zoeller urges credit freeze in wake of Experian/T-Mobile data breach

Category: Protect Your Credit
Published: Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Written by Super User

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. From the Office of the Indiana Attorney General:

An estimated 15 million T-Mobile customers who applied for credit through Experian are at risk of having their data compromised, and Hoosiers who are affected should register for a credit freeze as a precautionary measure, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

The information was obtained when an unauthorized party accessed T-Mobile data housed in an Experian server. Affected customers are those who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services between September 1, 2013 and September 16, 2015. Information that was breached includes customers' names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, identification numbers (typically a driver's license number, military ID, or passport number) and additional information used in T-Mobile's own credit assessment. According to Experian, its consumer credit database was not accessed in this incident.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office is investigating the breach and monitoring the situation to ensure that consumers are properly notified, and can assist any consumers who fall victim to identity theft or fraud. It is unknown who committed the data breach, but the AG's Office will work with its federal counterparts in the investigation.

"This latest data breach is yet another example of why it is so important for everyone to proactively register for a credit freeze to protect themselves from identity theft," Zoeller said. "At this point its safe to assume that everyone in our state has been affected by one of the many data breaches, no one is immune to this and if you don't take the initiative to protect your credit, the consequences could be very costly and have a long-term financial impact."

Protect against ID theft

Zoeller urges consumers who may have been impacted in this data breach or any other breach to take the following immediate steps to guard against identity theft:

o Sign up for a free credit freeze with the three credit bureaus - TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Registering for a credit freeze will prevent a fraudster from taking out a line of credit in your name without your permission; and you can easily lift the credit freeze at any time if you do wish to apply for new credit or a loan. The free credit freeze sign-up page can be found at
o Closely monitor financial statements for any unusual activity.

o Review and monitor your credit report to check for inaccuracies. A free credit report can be requested from each of the credit bureaus once a year through

Additionally, Experian and T-Mobile will offer affected consumers two years of credit monitoring and identity protection services for compromised customers at no cost. Credit monitoring alerts consumers to fraud after the fact, so it's always best to also have the credit freeze already in place to deter fraud, in addition to credit monitoring. Visit or call Experian at (866)-369-0422 for more information about its credit monitoring.

If consumers already have credit monitoring in place from a previous breach, they might consider adding the Experian/T-Mobile monitoring if it would provide a longer coverage period. Consumers should be aware when the free time period ends on their credit monitoring, especially if they would like to cancel, because they will likely be encouraged to purchase the service long-term.

Zoeller said the free credit freeze is the best protection against fraud and identity theft, though monitoring can be helpful in identifying fraud.
Everyone, regardless of if you believe your data has been compromised, can take the above steps to protect against ID theft.

Red flags of ID theft

Certain red flags can indicate that identity theft may have occurred, including:

o Incorrect personal information on your credit report such as a social security number, address, name, initials or employers.
o New accounts being opened in your name that you did not authorize or receiving credit cards that you did not apply for.
o Missing bills. Often identity thieves will change your billing address to make their illicit activities look more legitimate.
o Any unexplained debits to your accounts.
o Being denied credit or only offered high interest rates on credit lines for reasons unknown to you.
o Calls from debt collectors about purchases you did not make.

Report ID theft

If unusual activity is detected and you believe you are a victim of identity theft, follow the below steps:
o Report fraud to the police and file a complaint with the AG's Office at or by calling 800-382-5516.
o Place fraud alerts on your credits reports by contacting one of the three credit agencies: TransUnion, Experian or Equifax.
o File a petition in court asking the judge to issue a court order declaring you a victim of identity theft. That order can help clear up fraudulent activity.

Under Indiana's Disclosure of Security Breach law, businesses with Indiana customers are required to inform customers and the AG's Office about security breaches that have placed personal information in jeopardy. The AG's Office investigates data breaches to determine if customers were properly notified of the breach and if the entity had appropriate safeguards in place to protect customers' data.

More information about the T-Mobile/Experian breach is posted on Experian's website here: Experian has said they are notifying all individuals who may have been affected.

In 2014, nearly 400 data breaches were reported to the Indiana Attorney General's Office. In 2015 thus far, 375 data breaches have been reported. In 2015, about 924 complaints about identity theft have been reported to the AG's Office, and 1,300 complaints were reported in 2014.

More identity theft protection tips and information on the AG's Identity Theft Unit can be found at

Protect your credit

Category: Protect Your Credit
Published: Friday, 09 October 2015
Written by Super User

3 Ways to Protect Against Credit Card Fraud

Category: Protect Your Credit
Published: Wednesday, 07 October 2015
Written by Super User

With the global costs of card fraud reaching tens of billions of dollars per year, protecting your credit card data is more important than ever. Although no solution is foolproof, technology can help keep your personal data from getting into the wrong hands. The more hurdles you create between fraudsters and your funds, the better. Here are three big steps you can take.

1. Use cards with EMV

EMV chip technology, now the standard in Europe and many other parts of the world, is expanding widely in the United States. But many consumers aren’t aware of the benefits of EMV. NerdWallet’s inaugural study on consumer credit experience found that 25% of people in the US think cards with EMV chips are equally secure or less secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards, while 34% weren’t sure which was more secure. But EMV chips do completely eliminate certain types of fraud, making them a clear winner over magnetic stripe alternatives.

Not all issuers currently offer cards with chips, but the security benefits might make it worth signing up with one that does.

EMV chips mitigate fraud with a technique called tokenization. Tokenization means that every time you pay with an EMV card in person, the unique information that identifies the card changes. So card information copied from one transaction can’t be reused.

Tokenizing card data so merchants can no longer see the 16-digit [primary account number] drastically increases the safety of member information, since tokens can’t be tied back to the account number, rendering them useless if compromised at merchants, says Matthew Freeman, credit card products manager at Navy Federal Credit Union.

When you swipe a traditional magnetic stripe card, by contrast, the information is the same with each transaction. Data thieves who gain access to that information can create a duplicate of your card and use it just about anywhere, a process known as counterfeit fraud.

"The migration of US issuers to chip cards will ultimately help mitigate counterfeit fraud," Freeman says. "Counterfeit fraud is the largest type of fraud impacting US card payments, so switching to chip cards will certainly help the situation."

Even though EMV significantly bolsters security for in-person transactions, be aware that the technology delivers no additional benefits for transactions online or by phone, known as "card-not-present" transactions. So if you're paying in those ways, your information is still at risk.

Most EMV cards also have magnetic stripes, and swiping an EMV-chip card will not provide any additional protection. For cardholders to reap all the protections of an EMV card, they must transact directly through an EMV terminal. Some terminals can handle both swiped and EMV transactions; if given a choice between the two, use EMV.

Merchants won’t technically be required to adopt EMV systems into their point-of-sale terminals, but not doing so means they’ll be taking on liability for counterfeit transactions.

2. Pay with your phone

Phone-based payment services such as Apple Pay and Android Pay make paying at stores a lot easier, but they also make it safer. Most mobile payment services take advantage of the same tokenization technology used in EMV cards, so the information used for transactions changes every time. Plus, the phone itself adds another layer of security.

Just as with a magnetic stripe card, if you lose an EMV-chip card, it is still possible for a criminal to use it fraudulently if the cashier fails to confirm your identity with a photo ID. But if you lose a mobile device with payment capabilities, a thief would need to know your device’s password to complete a transaction. Some payment services (Apple Pay, for example) can even require a fingerprint scan to finalize payment.

3. Get a smart card

Still a fairly new concept in payment technology, smart cards essentially pool all of your cards (credit, debit, membership, gift) into one. These devices are similar in form and function to a standard credit card. They rely on small, battery-operated computers under the surface to work.

Coin, one of several smart cards on the market, allows users to store and pay with up to eight cards. When Coin users are ready to transact, they toggle to their card of choice and swipe it as they would a normal magnetic stripe credit card.

What makes this technology more secure than a typical credit card is that Coin locks after every use, requiring a password to activate payment. So if your card is lost or stolen, you won't have to worry about anyone using it to make fraudulent purchases. Coin also recently rolled out a device that adds tokenization security.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Twitter: @kevin_cash.

Image via iStock.