Mark Pribish

Smart technology can make life and ID theft much easier

By Mark Pribish
Vice President and ID Theft Practice Leader

A co-worker recently bought a new and very smart car, so smart that it can change navigational directions because of a wreck or traffic jam miles away or create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers.

Separately, I've decided that I want to upgrade my home with smart appliances so that I can control them with my phone or pad and know whether the refrigerator or AC goes out while I'm traveling. Amazing what connected technologies offer us.

Consumers are getting better at understanding how to protect their laptops and phones. But it's the wild, wild West in learning how to protect almost everything else in an Internet-connected, smart-technologies-in-almost-everything world.

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In a connected world, smart cars, smart appliances and smart devices are amazing for us - and ID-theft criminals.

Rob Soderbery, a software executive with Cisco, predicts that there will be 15 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 40 billion by 2020.

We now have smart, connected baby monitors, cars, refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, washing machines/dryers, lights, thermostats, surveillance cameras and medical equipment, and even smart underwear (I'm not kidding - read on).

Smart technology increases efficiency, saves energy, helps you avoid problems and disasters and can improve your health-care services and physical security. It empowers service providers of smart-technology devices and appliances such as your utility, home security and health-care providers to collect data and use it to improve services, lower energy costs and increase home security.

Now let's talk "smart" clothing and the U.S. military's smart underwear. It has microsensors that monitor respiration, heart rate, body posture and skin temperature, offering the ability in real time to analyze a wounded soldier from 10,000 miles away. Civilian use of this smart clothing technology offers doctors the ability to monitor the data collected and streamed to treat a patient more quickly and more efficiently.

It's great to have the convenience - from wherever you are - of turning off your home security to unlock your front door remotely for a family member or friend. But if you can do that, so can a smart ID theft criminal.

Anything connected to the Internet is vulnerable. Recent news cites cars with smart technology being hacked to unlock the car or, worse, remotely taking control of a car while someone is driving. News reports have also talked about insulin pumps that can be hacked and manipulated and hackers sending harassing messages through baby monitors and cable boxes.

Get smart about smart technologies and their vulnerabilities even as you enjoy their many benefits.


To learn more about these threats and how to protect yourself and your family from Identity Theft, you can read my past newsletters at the Merchants Identity Theft Educational Website at www.idtheftedu.com.


Why is My Number Calling Me? A Crazy New Scam.

Scammers are using caller ID spoofing technology to impersonate the phone numbers of local businesses, neighbors and even you! Watch out for this wacky twist on the classic phishing phone scam.

How the Scam Works:

Your phone rings, and you look at the caller ID. You recognize the number. It may be from a local business or a neighbor down the street. But in a strange twist, you might even see your own name and phone number on the caller ID screen.

You answer the phone, and it's a robo call. Victims have reported several different phishing scams. In one common version, a recording prompts you to verify your credit card number under the guise of lowering your interest rates.

With many people rejecting calls from unfamiliar numbers, scammers are increasingly posing as familiar businesses, government organizations or people. Scammers purchase lists of phone numbers and use spoofing technology to trick potential victims into picking up the phone. Posing as your own phone number is great for shock value and for ensuring the number isn't blocked.

What to do if a scammer calls:

  • Hang up, don't press any buttons and, if you received a voice mail message, don't call the scammer back. We all like to have the last word, but returning the phone call may just give the con artist information he can use.
  • Don't trust Caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
  • Never give out any financial information. If you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone unless you have thoroughly done your research and verified the caller.

For More Information

Thanks to the Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas for their reporting on this scam. Check out their full article here.

Courtesy of the Better Business Bureau - for more information visit http://www.bbb.org/central-northern-western-arizona/news-events/

If you believe your identity has been stolen, call 866.SMART68 today.