RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Seven Ways to Protect Against Identity Theft

October 24, 2014 1:33 am

Identity theft is a fast-growing problem, with multiple, large companies being victimized by major data breaches in the past year – and the pace is accelerating. More than 200 million data records were stolen in just the first quarter of 2014, according to research by SafeNet. One in three people who are victims of data breaches will quickly become victims of fraud, found Javelin Strategy and Research.

"Data breaches continue to be a pervasive problem in the digital age, and we expect that trend to continue," said Scott Mitic, Senior Vice President at Equifax. "Our tendency to share personal information online leaves that information vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves."

Whether viewing this information via computer, tablet or smartphone, your use of modern-day technologies increases your risk for identity theft. Equifax advises consumers to protect themselves by following these tips.
  • Make sure your security software is updated on both your computer and smartphone. Free solutions are available from reputable sources.
  • Keep your phone locked with an access code. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • Download the latest software updates for your device to fix security holes.
  • Be on the lookout for email scams.
  • Keep your social media accounts private and don't share common identifying information like your mother's maiden name or your birth date.
  • Use unique and complex passwords.
  • After a data breach, change your passwords, place a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies, close affected accounts and monitor your credit report.
"As we go about our daily lives, it can be easy to forget how the technology we use every day can makes us the target of identity thieves," said Mitic. "But by arming yourself with knowledge and the right techniques, you can help protect your personal information."

Source: Equifax Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Estate Planning: Digital Rights Explained

October 24, 2014 1:33 am

Unlike Vegas, what happens online goes everywhere and stays there forever. The permanence of our online lives poses a few, often unconsidered challenges for estate planning, especially regarding our social media identity and money invested in digital books or music.

For instance, that moment when a social media post tells you "Bob 'likes' Palatial Pizza" – even though Bob passed away over two years ago. While awkward, is anything at risk? And are there options for a family or friend to take the site down?

What's at risk?
"Every social networking site has its own policies regarding giving a friend or family access to update or take down a site," says Sarah White, an attorney in Marietta, Georgia and part of the Attorney Network for ARAG®, a leader in legal insurance. Choosing to leave a site up puts everyone at risk for some potential drama caused by people (known as trolls in the online world) who may leave insulting or inflammatory comments.

For many families, however, leaving the account open is a good choice. "It's a way to let people know of the passing and to offer a place for people to share thoughts, feelings and memories," says White.

Can I plan ahead?

If you'd like to be more proactive about how your social media identity is managed, check your state law. "Some states allow you to name someone who can take control of, handle and terminate your digital accounts at death," says White. "These new laws override any policy the social networking site may have."

To designate someone as the caretaker of your digital accounts, create a list of your user names and passwords and keep it with your will and final instructions.

What happens to my iTunes and Kindle books?
"The problem with allocating the digital books and songs you think you own is that you don't really own them," says White. "What you own is a license to use the digital files. Specifically, Amazon and Apple grant nontransferable rights to use Kindle books or to listen to songs on iTunes, but you can't pass them to a child or spouse."

Estate planning laws in many states haven't caught up to technology yet. As people spend more money on digital content, the law will soon catch up to technology, enabling that content to be passed on like other property.

Source: ARAG

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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