Turning Your IT Boneyard into a Profit Center

Turning Your IT Boneyard into a Profit Center

Like most families and organizations in America, you probably have a pile, or maybe even a storage room or two, full of IT assets that are not being used. They’re at the end of their life. They are holding extremely sensitive data. They’re also depreciating quickly.

 

In ongoing efforts to analyze employer risks, and find effective solutions to mitigate them, Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions has developed a Data Risk Mitigation service. “We have partnered with highly experienced software engineers who have perfected the end-of-life process for data center/IT hardware for over twenty years,” remarked E. Allan Hilsinger, Founder and CEO. What does this mean for you? “You have gear … we have cash! It’s really that simple.” He continued to explain, “We buy a customer’s IT boneyard essentially turning their headache, risk, and expense into a profit center. We ensure total data destruction by using the U.S. Department of Defense endorsed three swipe data eradication process, which can occur on or off-site.”

 

How does this process work? The customer’s IT inventory list is reviewed (and created if needed). Then an estimate to purchase if provided. If the estimate is agreed upon, the proper change of custody paperwork will be executed, gear will be accepted and the company gets to work. After the three swipe data eradication process is complete for each piece of equipment, certificates of complete data eradication for each hard drive are provided. Once wiped, the gear is repurposed and the customer will receive the revenue share previously agreed upon.

 

As with all Guard Well programs, our team continuously strives to keep the process simple, safe, and hassle-free and with minimal effort required by your IT team. We are experts on keeping your asset value at a maximum and while completely eliminating data risk.

 

Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with us via the ‘contact us’ form on our website or call us today at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

 

Photo by Tisteo on Unsplash.com

 

Guard Well Founder & CEO to be Expert HR Panelist

Guard Well Founder & CEO to be Expert HR Panelist

— Virtual Event Notice —

 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 (2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT) the Cincinnati Business Courier (CBC) will host a live virtual panel discussion with industry experts about the ongoing changes and critical issues impacting Human Resources (HR). Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions Founder and CEO, E. Allan Hilsinger, will be a live panel expert. This will be Mr. Hilsinger’s second time as an HR panelist expert for CBC.

 

The panel will discuss workforce issues around employee engagement, retention strategies, organizational development, compensation, benefits, and educating tomorrow’s business leaders. Attendees will learn how solving HR issues can play an important role in the growth of business.

 

Other panelist experts will include Deidre Bird, Director of HR Consulting, VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm and Justin Flamm, Partner and Co-Chair Employment and Labor Relations Practice Group, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

 

The event is free to attend. Interested in attending, register HERE. Have a topic that you would like to be discussed? Please send any questions, comments or feedback to lmuhlenkamp@bizjournals.com.

Memorial Day Hacks and Hamburgers

Memorial Day Hacks and Hamburgers

Memorial Day is a special time of year to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U. S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Visit History.com for more information.

 

Always the last Monday in May, this holiday also marks the unofficial beginning of summer fun … pool season, popsicles, and plenty of barbeques. Americans have traditionally observed Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. This year the weekend activities will likely look a bit different while social distancing, but we will continue to reflect on the sacrifices our soldiers made for us while lighting up our grills. Speaking of, take a visit to Chowhound.com for some amazing tips for the most perfect hamburger ever (80/20 lean to fat ratio ground chuck always!) and clever grilling hacks (Did you know you can use a spare a cooler as an insulated warmer to keep food hot and juicy right off the grill?). One tip you won’t see there is a favorite of mine … folding a dollop of mayo into each burger patty for optimal juiciness before they even go on the grill. Try it. You’ll love it!

 

Sadly, with the holiday, come the crooks that feed on our gratitude. Watch out for Memorial Day scams where hackers use a patriotic or military approach when contacting service members for money. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests to be on the lookout for three specific scams during this time of remembrance:

 

High-priced military loans. No legitimate lender will guarantee a loan as being instantly approved. Watch for ads that may also say no credit check is required. If this is the case, the loan will likely come with hidden fees as well as outrageously high interest rates.

 

Veterans’ benefits buyout plans. These plans offer an attractive cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments. The cash payment is typically only 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to receive.

 

Overpriced life insurance policies. The military are often targets of high pressure insurance salespeople, who want them to purchase an unnecessary and pricey life insurance policy.

 

Stay safe this weekend and please reach out to us if needed. As always, we are available 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and at memberservices@guardwellid.com. And, if you have any great grilling ideas of your own, please share them in the comments below.

 

Cybercrime Dark Web Alert – Ten Company Databases Sold

Cybercrime Dark Web Alert – Ten Company Databases Sold

A hacker group known as “ShinyHunters” is selling the data of 10 companies on a dark web cybercrime marketplace. The user databases, which total 73.2 million records, allegedly stolen include the following:

 

– Online dating app Zoosk (30 million user records)

– Printing service Chatbooks (15 million user records)

– South Korean fashion platform StyleShare (6 million user records)

– Food delivery service Home Chef (8 million user records)

– Online marketplace Minted (5 million user records)

– Online newspaper Chronicle of Higher Education (3 million user records)

– South Korean furniture magazine GGuMim (2 million user records)

– Health magazine Mindful (2 million user records)

– Indonesia online store Bhinneka (1.2 million user records)

– US newspaper StarTribune (1 million user records)

 

If you have accounts with the listed companies, please contact us immediately. We are available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 888.966.4827 (GUARD) and memberservices@guardwellid.com.

Fun Things to Do from Home … Really!

Fun Things to Do from Home … Really!

There are only so many closets that can be cleaned out and pantries to organize while practicing social distancing, right? Do you find that you’re running out of ideas to keep yourself entertained, your children learning and even your pets busy doing something not destructive … if even just for ten minutes? We understand that when you’re having to spend much more time with your family, how precious those ten minutes are!

 

Some of these ideas may already be in your repertoire. We hope that there are some new ones that will help put a smile on your face … and grant you those ten minutes of much-needed peace.

 

– Virtually travel to places you have always wanted to see. Some of our favorites are The Louvre in Paris; The San Diego Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium in California; Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Guggenheim in NYC; the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy; the Acropolis in Athens, Greece; and, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Visit Google Arts & Culture for even more amazing virtual experiences, including some for pets.

 

– Get creative in the kitchen. Since you have likely already cleaned out your pantry, you probably know what staples you have on hand. Learn how to improvise and have a contest as to who can come up with the best three-ingredient recipe. One of our favorites is to cook brunch in a large muffin tin. All it takes are three ingredients, a muffin tin, and, in four easy steps, you can have a simple but protein-rich brunch for six: 1) Grease the muffin tin (a large one with six works best). 2) Take some ham slices and line the bottom and sides of each muffin (turkey slices work just as well, too). 3) Break an egg over the top of each ham slice and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Bake until the eggs are set (about 20 -25 minutes) and viola! You have brunch for six and no mess to clean up. Check out Taste of Home for 64 for more ideas on cooking in a muffin tin.

 

– How is your green thumb? Did you know that you can re-grow vegetables in only a dish of water indoors in a matter of a couple of weeks? It is a great way to trim your grocery budget and make organic food much more affordable. Ten vegetables to try are celery, carrot greens, cabbage, bok choy, fennel, green onions, lettuce, and garlic chives. We have had the best experience with re-growing celery. Our first try of re-growing living lettuce didn’t go so well – the jury is still out for the second head, which is iceberg. Visit the Don’t Waste the Crumbs website for more indoor gardening ideas.

 

– Tired of looking at the same walls each day? You can redecorate your house without having to buy a thing. Try rearranging furniture and move your knickknacks to other rooms. If you have a sectional sofa, try splitting it up and move the pieces around, even setting them at angles instead of the typical box shape. Move your paintings and photos to other walls in different rooms. If you have a teenager in the house, suggest that they completely rearrange their room … it will certainly take a while and free up bandwidth so you can get some work done quicker! Likely they’ll end up cleaning out their closet and dresser drawers … again!

 

Whatever you do, please stay safe online. We suggest that you revisit our blog, Working from Home Cybersecurity Tips. As always, we are available 24/7/365 for you and your loved ones at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and memberservices@guardwellid.com. If you have any fun ideas that you have tried while social distancing, please share them with us in the comments below.

COVID-19 Unemployment Identity Theft Cases on the Rise

COVID-19 Unemployment Identity Theft Cases on the Rise

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire employment image in America. Have you or a loved one needed to reach out to your state unemployment office due to being out of work (or experiencing a massive reduction in work hours)? As if that process wasn’t difficult enough! Unfortunately, many have experienced the shock and dismay when their unemployment claim is turned down for benefits due to a duplicate application. It is happening … and way too often. Hackers live for mankind’s vulnerability, especially during trying times like this.

 

We understand that it’s hard to know what you need to know especially during immense stress. The following are the five most common unemployment scams that we would like for you to be aware of:

 

Phishing email scams. Be wary of a sender you don’t know even if there are familiar logos visible in the email. Just because the email says it’s coming from your former employer’s CEO, doesn’t mean that it is legit. Verify the sender via phone before you trust the information that they are providing. If no one is available to verify it via a call … it’s a scam.

 

Debit and direct deposit card scams. Hackers know that states may use debit cards or payments via direct deposit to deliver benefits to you. If you are asked to provide personal identifying information (PII), such as date of birth, social security number, and/or bank account information before you actually apply for a card … it’s a scam. We have seen unemployment debit card scams that end up charging the victim for inactivity.

 

Fake phone call scams. The Department of Labor suggests to only use official government websites and phone numbers to file a claim for unemployment benefits. If someone calls you before you reach out for help … it’s a scam.

 

Jobseeker scams. If anyone is interested in hiring you immediately because you are the “perfect” candidate for a position you haven’t sought out … it’s a scam.

 

Fake job board website scams. If a website asks you to pre-register and give them your bank account information for your first paycheck … it’s a scam.

 

Here are some tips to help avoid unemployment benefit scams:

 

– Do not respond to unsolicited emails and texts. A state will not try to reach you and certainly won’t via text message.

 

– Do not click any type of website link even if it looks like it’s from one of your financial institutions. Scammers are really sneaky. Read our blog Do Not Click! for more information.

 

– Monitor your accounts closely. If an identity thief has enough information to apply (and receive) your benefits, it’s a pretty solid bet that they have information on your other accounts. Update your passwords, which is a step to take even not during a pandemic.

 

– Help keep your PII safe by making sure you’re dealing with a legitimate government representative.

 

 

Interested in learning how to file unemployment benefits in your state? Check this map, select the state where you worked, and you will be directed to the appropriate contact information. Be smart. Be vigilant. Be strong. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 1.888.966.GUARD (4827) and memberservices@guardwellid.com.

 

The Quick Rise of Phishing Scams – Do Not Click!

The Quick Rise of Phishing Scams – Do Not Click!

Many of us have been experiencing much more free time on our hands, which is great if you enjoy the sport of fishing, have a pile of books to read or Netflix shows to catch up on. Unless you are on the front line, life, as we know it during this pandemic, has forced the majority of us to slow down.

 

Our ‘new normal’ environment is a breeding ground for scammers to take advantage of you and your identity. Last month we wrote several blogs that specifically discussed the various types of coronavirus scams we had been witnessing. Check out Coronavirus Scams Are on the Rise, And More Coronavirus Scams, and Working From Home Cybersecurity Tips if interested in a quick refresher course or two.

 

Over the last two weeks we have seen a 70% increase in email phishing scams during this pandemic, which has undoubtedly touched every facet of our lives. These phishing scams may come across as emails and/or posts promoting coronavirus awareness. These messages will often offer prevention tips on how to stay well, what the symptoms of the virus may include and what to do in case you or a family member feel ill. Some are even creating fake “cases” of COVID-19 in your neighborhood so you feel more inclined to help out. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments. Don’t fall for any of it … but, in case you do, we suggest that you read our blog from October 2019 Accidentally Clicked on a Phishing Link – Now What?.

 

Today our advice is very simple: If you are not 100% certain of the origin of the email and/or link that you are being asked to click on … DO NOT CLICK. If for some reason you accidentally do click, there are some imperative steps to take to alleviate harm to you and/or the network you may be connected with:

 

– Try not to panic. This happens to everyone. Antivirus and anti-malware will come into play and you will need to have a full system scan. But first …

 

– End the session immediately by turning off Wi-Fi, unplugging from an ethernet cable or completely shutting down all of your devices.

 

– Initiate a back up of your files. Since you won’t be connected to the internet at this point, you won’t be able to accomplish this to the cloud. Having an external drive, DVD or thumb drive are always nice to have on hand during times like these.

 

– Change your login/password to email account(s) and enable two-factor authentication if this hasn’t already occurred.

 

– If you are employed by a company or organization, reference your manual and let your network administrator know of the potential issue.

 

– After all is said and done, check your antivirus/anti-malware software and run a full scan.

 

Being informed of what steps you may need to take before a slip up happens can help ease the potential damage (and your stress level) if it does. Be smart. Be vigilant. Be strong. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 1.888.966.GUARD (4827) and memberservices@guardwellid.com.

Zoombombing … the New Social Distancing Phenomenon

Zoombombing … the New Social Distancing Phenomenon

Video calls have gone from a novelty to a necessity practically overnight. The term ‘social distancing’ and the app, Zoom, have both become household names as millions of people are being forced to stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The desire to stay connected with our loved ones and friends during this difficult time has sparked creative ways to virtually stay social through video birthday parties, happy hours, trivia nights, yoga sessions, and even weddings. CNBC reported this week that “the [Zoom] app has been the top free app for iPhones in the United States since March 18 … daily users spiked to 200 million in March, up from 10 million in December.”

 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom, a privately-held company headquartered in San Jose, CA, was used mostly for web conferencing webinars. Now it is being used by 90,000 schools across 20 countries. But, there are online security issues with the app and school districts have started to ban Zoom because of them. Why? Because of ‘Zoombombing,’ a phenomenon where uninvited guests (pranksters) join Zoom calls and broadcast porn or shock videos. How? Due to Zoom’s default settings, which don’t require a password to set a meeting and allow any participant to share their screen. Most Zoom meetings have a public link that, if clicked, allow anyone to join.

 

The Verge just reported that “Zoom adjusted their default settings for education accounts last week in an effort to increase security and privacy for meetings.” They also noted, “For everyone else, you’ll need to tweak your Zoom settings to ensure this never happens.” The process isn’t very simple…

 

If you schedule a meeting from the web interface, you won’t see the option to disable screen sharing. Instead:

 – Click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu

– Scroll down to “Screen Sharing” and under “Who Can Share?” click “Host Only”

– Click on “Save”

 

If you forget to change the setting before you start your meeting, there’s a way to modify your settings after it starts:

 – Once your Zoom meeting is running, click the caret to the right of the green “Share Screen” button in the center of the bottom row of icons

– Click “Advanced Sharing Options”

– A dialog box will pop up allowing you to switch screen sharing availability from all participants to the “Only Host”


Yes, these are very confusing times. Stay strong and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and memberservices@guardwellid.com.

 

 

 

Small Business Owners Targeted by Coronavirus Loan Scams

Small Business Owners Targeted by Coronavirus Loan Scams

We understand that this is a very confusing time when anxiety levels are extremely high. New programs are being launched and the details might not be completely understood at first. As of today, federal disaster loan assistance is now available for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners, and renters negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

If you are a small business owner, keep in mind that you may receive unsolicited calls, letters or emails. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is urging small business owners to keep an eye out for coronavirus-related loan scams as many of their members have received multiple loan scam emails and phone calls in the past few days. What do you do if you aren’t sure if an offer is legitimate or a scam? Understand that:

– No one should be charging an application fee to apply for the coronavirus disaster relief loan.

– You should not release any personal identifying information (PII), such as Social Security numbers, your date of birth, credit card information, or financial institution account data, in response to an unsolicited call, letter or email.

– The Better Business Bureau is available for more information on a company before you commit to anything.

– If ever in doubt, contact your state’s Attorney General’s office. You can search for that contact information HERE.

 

Be smart. Be vigilant. Be strong. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. We are available 24/7/365 for you and your family members at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and memberservices@guardwellid.com.

 

 

Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for more information on federal disaster loans.