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5 Things You Need To Do Right Now To Protect Yourself Against The Equifax Hack

Last week, almost half of the United States population was affected by the Equifax data breach.   Information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and drivers license numbers being accessed by cybercriminals.  You may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself.  Here is Burton with 5 things you can do right now to protect yourself!

5 Things You Need To Do Right Now To Protect Yourself Against The Equifax Hack

Because of severity of the Equifax data breach, I recommend that, anyone with a credit history should assume they were affected by this data breach.

So what steps do you need to take?

Check your credit

Federal law allows you to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your credit report now.

Enroll in a credit monitoring service

Services like LifeLock, Identity Guard, IdentityForce. While I’ve never been a big fan of credit monitoring services, now is the time to invest in one. They can’t decrease your chances of becoming a victim, they’ll alert you when something goes wrong and help you clean up the mess if someone tries to steal your identity.

Watch out come tax season

It’s important for you to know that identity thieves can use your stolen social security number and other information obtained in the breach to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds. You probably should file your taxes early next year.

Watch Out for Scams

With your personal information in the hands of cybercriminals, you need to be extra cautious as scammers have more information they can use against you to con you. After this breach you may start to receive suspicious or unrecognised phone calls, text messages, or email from anyone saying you must pay taxes or a debt immediately.

Review you statements

If you don’t already, make a point to regularly check and monitor your bank and credit card accounts no less than once a week to ensure the listed transactions are legitimate.If you’re like me, you still probably aren’t feeling 100% secure, even after completing the above steps. It’s hard to know how many of us have been affected so I recommend being vigilant in reviewing your financial information for any strange activity.

From iFamily to Yours,

Burton

Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

Hello, Kansas City! It’s time for another weekly tech talk with our technology expert, Burton Kelso. Today, Burton’s giving us the low down on how to keep our kiddos safe when using smart devices. These “smart toys” can be a breeding ground for hackers, but with some know-how, you can allow your kids to have fun, while still being safe. Take a look…

Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

Weekly Tech Talk : Is Your Family Safe from Hackers?

 

There are two popular smart toys are causing quite a stir in recent weeks because of the potential security risk posed to children and families that own them. The toys in question are “Hello Barbie”,  “My Friend Cayla,” which is a talking doll that can understand and respond to kids in real-time, and the “i-QUE” robot, which is described as a “quick witted, smart talking know it all” talking doll. These smart toys ask children for very specific personal information such as parent names, favorite TV shows and meals, school name and the city in which they live. Both toys also take users’ IP addresses in order to collect location data, according to their privacy policies, something many parents out there aren’t aware of.

 

Most of you understand the dangers of letting your kids use social networks and having your kids locations and activities tracked. There is less care with the purchase of connected toys, because many of you don’t understand the risks. VTech, the company that makes the Kidzoom DX a children’s smartwatch was hacked in 2015, giving cybercriminals the data on thousands of kids who had used the firm’s toy laptops.

 

The opportunities for bullying, extortion, even abduction using the connected toys is endless. Parents, you need to understand your information is also at risk. The toys can be the entry point into your home network.

 

Parents, you need to exercise caution when setting up these smart toys for your children and take the necessary precautions to protect your family from a serious data breech. Follow these steps.

 

  1. The first thing that you can do to ensure the protection of yourself and the people you care about is before buying a new device for yourself or giving one to another person is searching the name of the device with the keywords ‘hack’, ‘glitch’ or ‘scam’ and seeing what results come up.

 

  1. Check the Terms and Conditions on these smart toys to see what the holding company can do with your data. In the wrong hands, it could lead to an intimate portrait of your family that you may not want to share. If the terms aren’t clear, then don’t purchase the item.

 

  1. When giving a new device to your children, make sure that you check what permissions the app wants access to as sometimes an app can request access to things such as your home address, phone number, bank account details and general information that about your private lives. As a rule of thumb it is not necessary to give away any information requested by an app that you wouldn’t want to give away to a stranger!

 

  1. If your children are using anything that connects to your WiFi then make sure they are not sharing personal information such as names, birthdays, home address, and school location.

 

  1. When not in use, turn the gadget off completely.

 

Let your kids enjoy these connected devices and the amazing benefits they provide. Also be aware of the information they are using. Have fun, stay safe.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com