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When your business or identity is compromised you could have some big HiPAA and financial headaches on your hands. Many of you know I came from a security back ground with the British Secret Service.  I was personal protection rather than ‘cyber’; however I have an important recommendation for you.

Phishing is one of the most prevalent and dangerous activities on the web.  What is Phishing and how to protect yourself?

Phishing is where someone masquerades as someone else in an email, typically a trusted source and it appears like it came from someone in your company, a friend, a bank or other reputable source.  The attacker includes links or attachments and invites you to click on or open – and then the damage is done.  The criminal now has your login credentials, bank details, address book or account information and maybe much more.  Phishing is very popular with cybercriminals, as it is far easier to trick someone into clicking a malicious link than trying to break through a computer’s defenses.  Phishing has worked against some very large companies, political parties, CEO’s, attorneys, many very bright people, not just grandma.

Owners and employees are vulnerable – remind everyone regularly.  And make sure it is ok for them to report it if they think they made a mistake, keeping quiet will not help at all.  How do you stop it?  Well you may not be able to stop the incoming messages – but just slow down for a second or two before you open or click.  Who sent it? My password needs resetting? the bank needs my login details?  An unknown file needs opening? Really? – stop, think, delete!!

So why is Phishing so dangerous?  When Target was breached the criminals got credit card details and it caused an uproar.  All anyone compromised had to do was get a new card and the problem was solved.  With Phishing they have your information, maybe all of it and they can attack you, get out a mortgage, credit card in your name and ruin your credit rating at any time in the next 5 – 20 years – when you long ago forgot you were breached!

A helpful tip for you is to create accounts and ‘lock your credit report’ with all 4 of the top credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion.  Freezing your credit prevents anyone, at any time, using your details to get a mortgage, open an account, get credit that could cause you a world of pain for a long time to come.  Prevention is far better than cure, so take action to protect yourself today.

This is what a locked account looks like on Experian – super simple, create your account and then it is one click to lock and unlock.

Prepared for Richard Lett on Nov 21, 2017 | LOCKED, click to unlock.
Lock your Report to keep identity thieves out and block unauthorized credit activity. If you’re in the market for new financing, easily unlock your Report so lenders can view your credit information.

If you have any thoughts or questions please send me a message.Freezing your credit causes you no problems what so ever, really.  Your credit score is not affected, and if you go to make a purchase and forget to unfreeze, no problem.   If you do need to gain a credit report because of a purchase, background license check etc. all you need to do is to log on and unfreeze your credit for a short period of time.  Always ask what credit reporting service the vendor will be using, so you may only need to unlock one account.

Equifax, who had one of the largest data breaches in history, is the only one of the big four that charge to freeze and unfreeze your credit reporting – go figure.  The charge is not much $1 and it is something you should not need to do regularly; it is very much worth protecting yourself. Other options to consider are Legal Shield and LifeLock.  However, it’s important to protect yourself first, having a company to help afterwards is okay, but many would rather not be a victim in the first place.

Another  tip is to get a password manager to generate, protect and administer all your passwords (use this in your business and personal life).  For all the steps you take to protect yourself, ask yourself how safe are my passwords? Just Google password manager and spend a couple of minutes finding a program that works for you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Richard Lett, MVO
Chief Executive Officer
LeClair Group