It’s been an exciting few weeks for Apple fans with the iPhone 5 hitting the market and expectations of an iPad Mini by months end. If you’re on the hunt for an Apple product, don’t fall for a free iPad 3 giveaway making the rounds through email. It could cost you money or your identity.
The Better Business Bureau warned about a bogus email that claims to be from a Google Gmail provider. The email says random Gmail users have been selected to receive a free Apple iPad 3. To claim, you need to clink a link. The link takes you to a survey site that requests personal information.
The BBB said if you complete the survey, you are inviting the scammers to sign you up for SMS services which will lead to more fees on your cell phone bill. The worst case scenario is that your information is used for identity theft.
These scams may be tempting because so many businesses give away iPads in promotions. To win a prize, though, you need to enter. In this case, you didn’t enter anything which should be the red flag. Only do business with legitimate companies to minimize your risk.
Identity theft is a worry that never goes away. Even if you protect your good name, there are so many ways someone else can trash it. So, what’s the best way to protect your name? Javelin Strategy & Research released a review of 24 ID protection services, and found significant variations in the service provided.
The advertising for these companies will lead you to believe they’ll do everything to protect you, but some companies have gotten in trouble with the feds for their advertising campaign. It might pay to look beyond the hype, because the survey found victims who found the fraud with a credit monitoring or other ID service usually lost less money.
“Promote value, not hype,” James Van Dyke, President and Founder of Javelin advises. “Don’t aggressively market to consumers and don’t lure them with promises of free credit reports that aren’t really free or Internet scanning, which varies according to the quality of the database used. Our report helps vendors attract and retain more customers, by highlighting specific strengths or weaknesses.”
The Javelin report surveyed more than 25,000 consumers, and named the following winners:
- Best Overall: Identity Guard Total Protection (Intersections)
- Best in Prevention: LifeLock Credit Score Manager; LifeLock Command Center
- Best in Detection: IDEssentials (TrustedID); Identity Secure (Affinion)
- Best in Resolution: Identity Force (Bearak Reports); Royal (EZShield); AllClear ID Pro (Debix)
Consumer Reports points out a good caveat — this typically involves new account fraud meaning someone opens a new account in your name rather than measuring the fraud on existing accounts.
There’s another way to protect your identity for half the cost or even free. Some of the companies named in Javelin’s study, also offer a FREE option or you may be able to avoid a third party altogether. Check in for those money-saving tips tomorrow.
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Caller ID is a great service that allows you to talk when you want and let voicemail go to work when you don’t have time to talk. It makes you wonder how we lived without it.
Next time you see someone calling on caller ID, don’t assume it’s who the ID says it is. There is a technology called spoofing that allows you to manipulate caller ID and make it look like someone else is calling. The problem is it’s being used for illegitimate reasons. That’s why the Truth in Caller ID Act was passed last year to prohibit ID spoofing that’s harmful or has fraudulent intent.
Spoofing is used to trick you into falling for a scheme whether it’s identity theft or something else. The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that allow signficant fines for spoofing. The FCC can fine someone $10,000 per violation and up to $1 million for an ongoing violation.
You can still spoof a number without breaking the law, but only if it’s not harmful or for fraudulent purposes. There’s not an all out ban because domestic violence shelters or doctors may want to spoof their real number to maintain their privacy.
If you catch someone using spoofing for illegitimate reasons, report it to the FCC.
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