How to Spot a Scam with Children’s Health Insurance

How to Spot a Scam with Children’s Health Insurance

The cost of health care has skyrocketed in the United States. The very topic is as stressful as it is expensive. Did you know that the United States is the highest spending country on healthcare worldwide? In 2021, total health expenditure exceeded four trillion dollars with per capita health expenditure at $12,555.30. Statista Research recently reported that expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to increase to approximately 20% by 2030.

During the pandemic, each state’s Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helped millions of families with the cost of healthcare. With the end of the pandemic, states are reaching out to update Medicaid enrollments and scammers are already taking advantage of the situation. CHIP won’t ask you to pay to renew … but scammers will.

Here is what you need to know:

– CHIP won’t charge you to renew or enroll. They may reach out to you via email, phone or text but they will NOT ask you to pay, for any of your personal financial information and especially your credit card number or bank account information.

– Do NOT click! Even if it looks like a message is from your state’s Medicaid agency, if there is anything clickable in a message, assume it is scam and visit medicaid.gov to get contact information for your state’s Medicaid agency.

– Utilize healthcare.gov to complete insurance plans, find coverage and see if you are eligible. The website will ask you for your monthly income and age to give you a quote.

– Understand that medical discount plans are NOT insurance plans. Scammers will pitch discount plans to entice you and make you think they are the same as insurance.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Charles Deluvio via unsplash.com

Breach Alert Impacts 1.2 Million: RentoMojo.com

Breach Alert Impacts 1.2 Million: RentoMojo.com

Our security teams have recently discovered that online furniture and electronics rental startup RentoMojo has confirmed a data breach. The hacking origin date is April 23, 2023 and impacts 1.2 million. Personal identifying information data exposed include email addresses, user id, phone number, nationality and passport numbers.

The company reported that the attackers were able to gain access by exploiting cloud misconfiguration. Malicious attackers are continuously hunting for misconfigured cloud assets. They are vulnerabilities waiting to happen.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Image courtesy credit: Erfan Parhizi via unsplash.com.

NortonLifeLock Password Manager Tool Hacked

NortonLifeLock Password Manager Tool Hacked

NortonLifeLock has notified their customers that hackers have breached their Password Manager accounts. This latest breach dates back to December 2022 when thousands of customers were told that their accounts were compromised. Just recently, the parent company of NortonLifeLock, Gen Digital (formerly Symantec Corporation), reported that “the likely culprit was a credential stuffing attack.” This type of attack involves credentials that had previously been exposed or breached being used to break into accounts on different websites that share the same password.

By far, password protection is critical for online safety. Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) and having exceptional password hygiene habits are great practices to follow. For example, every account that requires a password should have their own unique, complex and random password. Try to avoid using combinations that utilize information that could be connected to your social media accounts, such as a loved one’s birthday or a pet’s name. Hackers are well-known to comb their intended victims’ social media accounts.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Photo courtesy of https://unsplash.com/@flyd2069.

Triple Date Breach Climbs to 25 Million: TruthFinder, Instant Checkmate and Gemini

Triple Date Breach Climbs to 25 Million: TruthFinder, Instant Checkmate and Gemini

Our security teams have recently discovered that over 25 million people have been impacted by data breaches involving TruthFinder, Instant Checkmate and Gemini.

Both TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate are subscription-based websites owned by PeopleConnect that allow users to do background checks on people by utilizing public records. The breaches for both companies occurred on April 12, 2019. While TruthFinder’s breach involves eight million account holders, Instant Checkmate’s is even larger impacting 12 million. Stolen account holder information includes users’ email addresses, phone numbers and passwords for both sites. Parent company PeopleConnect has confirmed that all customer accounts created between 2011 and 2019 have been impacted and that the published list originated inside their company. Learn More

Gemini (Gemini Trust Company, LLC) is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that allows customers to buy, sell and store digital assets. The American-owned company operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. The breach size of 5.4 million originated December 13, 2022 as a result of a third-party incident. The company has declared that some customers have been the target of phishing campaigns from that third-party vendor exposing millions of email addresses and partial phone numbers. Learn More

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Photo by https://unsplash.com Erfan Parhizi

 

FBI’s Vetted Threat Sharing Network Hacked

FBI’s Vetted Threat Sharing Network Hacked

Just recently, our security teams have discovered large data sets of compromised cyber elements on the Dark Web. The breached site is InfraGard.org, which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and key members of the private sector for the protection of the United States critical infrastructure.

InfraGard members are in roles involved in both cyber and physical security at companies that manage most of the nation’s critical infrastructures, including drinking water, power utilities, communication and financial services firms, transportation and manufacturing companies, healthcare providers and nuclear energy firms.

The breach origin date is December 2022 and data exposed includes their members’ contact information, such as name, email and phone numbers. The FBI stated that “this is an ongoing situation” and that they are “not able to provide any additional information at this time.” Approximately 80,000 InfraGard members are impacted. Learn more HERE.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. It has been a pleasure protecting America’s workforce for the last decade. We look forward to many years and much more growth to come.

Be vigilant. Be strong. Stay in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash.com.

Twitter Data Breach Alert

Twitter Data Breach Alert

Just recently our security teams have found that Twitter, a popular social media service, has been breached. At least 5.4 million accounts have been compromised. The breach origin date is July, 2022 and data exposed includes name, phone number, email address and account holder user IDs.

Twitter acknowledged publicly that they received a report through their bug bounty program of a vulnerability in Twitter’s systems in January 2022. As a result of the vulnerability, if someone submitted an email address or phone number to Twitter’s systems, Twitter’s systems would tell the person what Twitter account the submitted email address or phone number was associated with, if any. Twitter then explained that the bug resulted from an update to their code in June 2021. When Twitter learned about this, they immediately investigated and fixed it. Twitter announced that at that time, they had no evidence to suggest someone had taken advantage of the vulnerability. Twitter has said that it would directly notify every account owner it could confirm was affected by the exposure. In the meantime, it is highly suggested to add two-factor authentication.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. It has been a pleasure protecting America’s workforce for the last decade. We look forward to many years and much more growth to come.

Be vigilant. Be strong. Stay in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Photo courtesy of Bermix Studios via unsplash.com.

Keeping Your Holidays Happy and Fraud-free

Keeping Your Holidays Happy and Fraud-free

Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year. The holidays are quickly approaching … and at lightning speed! Will you be traveling to see family in the next few weeks? Or, maybe you’ll be skipping off to a great vacation instead of decking the halls? Whatever your plans are, having time off of work, fun with friends and family, and hopefully a few days of laziness … are wonderful to look forward to. But, when we are caught up in the excitement about buying those last-minute gifts (or sunscreen and new flip-flops), we need to remember that there are some other ‘things to do’ on our checklist to help keep our family and identities safe during this special time of year.

 

In addition to stopping the mail, finding that special neighbor with a green thumb to water your plants, and arranging for pet care for your fur babies, there are some ‘before your trip’ actions you can take to help prevent identity theft from becoming a huge holiday memory. Just some small preventative measures, such as updating the operating system and antivirus software on your mobile devices, can go a long way toward fending off a few identity thieves. Below are some tips for what you can do before you leave home, as well as while you’re away and after your return.

 

Before you leave home:

– Password protect your devices and update operating systems

– Alert your bank(s) about your travel plans

– Visit your post office and put your mail on a vacation hold

– Keep the number of credit cards you travel with to a minimum and have copies of your driver’s license, medical id cards, passports and travel confirmation numbers at home in a safe place

– Turn off auto-connect Wifi and Bluetooth connections

– Consider adjusting your social media account settings so posts aren’t tagged with GPS data

 

While out of town:

– Avoid using public Wifi and even your hotel’s Wifi if at all possible

– Do not use public computers

– Keep your travel documents in the hotel room safe

– Log out of websites on your smart phone and any websites if you bring a laptop or other device with you on your trip

 

Upon your return home:

– Consider changing passwords for your major accounts

– Thoroughly go through your account statements for any irregularities

– Check your credit report to make sure no new accounts were opened in your name while you were away

 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday vacation. If you suspect identity theft or fraud, please contact us immediately at 888.966.GUARD (4827) or email [email protected]. Day or night, we’ve got your back and will always be open for you.

How to Avoid Disaster-Related Scams

How to Avoid Disaster-Related Scams

Dealing with the aftermath of a disaster is always difficult. Unfortunately, scammers will jump at the chance to take advantage of those who are trying to assess and recover from the tremendous damage that weather-related events, such as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornados, along with pandemic-related COVID-19 can cause.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests a few ways to help avoid common post-disaster scams:

 

Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some fake vendors will quote sky-high prices and demand payment up-front.

 

Do a background check on them. Before you pay anything, ask for identification, licenses along with proof of insurance in writing.

 

Never pay in cryptocurrency, wire transfer, cash or via a gift card. Only make the final payment until the work is completed satisfactorily.

 

Always guard your personal identifying information (PII). “Only scammers will say they’re a government official and then demand money or your credit card, bank account or social security number.”

 

Understand that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will never ask for an application fee. FEMA has provided over $1 billion to more than 165,000 people to assist with COVID-19-related funeral costs for deaths occurring on or after January. “If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, that’s probably a scam.”

 

Spot and report disaster-related charity scams. If you are fortunate enough to be able to help others, visit this link for advice on how to donate wisely and avoid charity scams.

 

For more information and other tips, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/dealing-weather-emergencies

 

Be vigilant. Be strong. Stay in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827).

 

Photo courtesy credit to Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com.

8.4B Passwords & 25M Records Stolen

8.4B Passwords & 25M Records Stolen

Just recently our security team found two new breaches involving 25,000,000 stolen records and that 8.4 billion passwords have been stolen and sold on the dark web. We see these breaches all the time. The reality is that out of the 8.5 billion IP addresses worldwide, 3.5 billion of them are malware. That’s correct! Almost half of the worldwide web is created to commit fraud. That’s why we have proudly built a strong partnership with industry powerhouse Experian who jointly provides our member’s identity protection, support, and complete resolution service.

 

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to protect you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. It has been a pleasure protecting America’s workforce for the last decade. We look forward to many years and much more growth to come!

 

Be vigilant. Be Strong. Stay in the know. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

 

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com Bermix Studios

University of California and StreetEasy: Dark Web Fraud Alert

University of California and StreetEasy: Dark Web Fraud Alert

Our teams have discovered extremely large sets of compromised data on the Dark Web. The latest two websites involved are University of California and StreetEasy.com.

 

The University of California (UC) is the world’s leading public research university system. Like several hundred other institutions throughout the country, including universities, government institutions and private companies, UC has been using a vendor service called Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA) to transfer information. Accellion was the target of an international cyberattack where the perpetrators exploited a vulnerability in Accellion’s program and attacked roughly 100 organizations. The attackers are now attempting to get money from organizations and individuals.

 

The breach origination date was March 31, 2021. Information stolen includes names, addresses, SSNs, as well as some email addresses and medical IDs.

 

StreetEasy.com is New York City’s leading local real estate marketplace on mobile and the Web, providing comprehensive listings and market data. The approximate breach size is 990,290 and originated in June of 2016. Data exposed includes passwords, first and last names, email addresses, and user IDs.

 

Be vigilant. Be strong. Stay in the know. If you have visited these websites in the past or have done business with them, please contact our Member Services immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827).

 

Photo credit by Erfan Parhizi via unsplash.com.