Millions Potentially Exposed by Neiman Marcus Breach

Dallas-based Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), a luxury department store chain that includes Bergdorf Goodman, recently learned that an unauthorized party gained access to a cloud database platform used by NMG that is provided by a third party named Snowflake. The company notified Maine’s Attorney General’s Office that the breach has impacted more than 64,000 customers. The company started mailing notification letters on June 24th. This is not the first cybersecurity incident for Neiman Marcus. Previous breaches are known to have occurred in 2013, 2015 and 2020 for the high-end retailer.

NMG disclosed the incident just as a hacker announced the sale of the database. According to SecurityWeek, although a ransom was demanded, the retailer refused to pay. SecurityWeek also reported that the database sold for $150,000 and allegedly includes information on 180 million users which is far more than the 64,000+ NMG reported. The hacker is now advertising 70 million transactions, 50 million customer email addresses, 12 million gift card numbers and six billion rows of customer shopping records, employee data and store information.

Campaigns have targeted at least 165 organizations associated with Snowflake cloud storage systems, such as Advance Auto Parts, Allstate, Anheuser-Busch, Mitsubishi, Progressive, State Farm and Ticketmaster. We expect to see a heightened volume of cybersecurity incidents surrounding Snowflake and will notify you as soon as we hear any further news. Learn More

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

Gamers Hit with Social Engineering Attack

Gamers Hit with Social Engineering Attack

Our security teams have recently discovered that Shadow.tech, a cloud computing service developed by the French company Blade and later acquired by OBHcloud founder Octave Klaba in 2021 has been breached. Its technology is based on Window 10 server executing video games or other Windows software applications remotely. The breach origin date is October, 2023 and involves the data of 545,013 account users including their email addresses, full names, physical addresses and birth dates.

The public acknowledgement of the company states that they were a victim of a social engineering attack targeting one of their employee. Shadow.tech CEO said, “This highly sophisticated attack began on the Discord platform with the downloading of malware under cover of a game on the Steam platform, proposed by an acquaintance of an employee, himself, a victim of the same attack.” Learn More

If the term ‘social engineering attack’ is new to you … you are not alone.

Social engineering is a type of cyberattack that uses psychology to obtain personal identifying information (PII). It is impossible to prevent. This type of attack is a huge threat to cybersecurity because it begins on a very personal level with each victim. It invokes fear. It invokes urgency. If the device is being used for gaming and is part of a corporate network, login credentials can be compromised and harming of the network can occur.

Social engineering attacks can include many different formats: whaling, honeytrapping, tailgating … If you or a family member are into the gaming industry specifically, these are four social engineering attacks you need to be on the lookout for:

– Phishing – fraud, impersonation and old-fashioned blackmail.

– Baiting – fraudsters use fake websites, such as for not legit gaming add-ons and so-called “freebies.”

– Pretexting – this is a newer term and format. It includes a fabricated identity (or situation) where a victim may need to divulge PII. Example types of of impersonation could be a talent agency, a law enforcement officer, a major sweepstakes company.

– Spear Phishing – this is a very targeted email attack on specific employees (or sometimes organizations as a whole).

Tips:

– Only click on URLs that begin with https.

– Enable multi-factor authentication when available.

– Use a spam filter.

– Use a pop-up blocker.

– Do your research and check if a website or contact is legit.

– Never insert a USB into your device unless you know and trust exactly who it is from.

– If a request comes in and is marked URGENT, that is a red flag that it could be a scam.

Learning and following best cybersecurity practices are essential to safeguarding your PII. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

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Nationwide Cyberattack Paralyzes Auto Dealerships

If you have been trying to buy a car this summer, you might have hit a snag or two. Dealerships have had to go back to good old fashioned pen and paper to complete deals after their operations suddenly came to a complete halt. What happened? Hackers targeted CDK Global, a software company that 15,000 car dealerships nationwide rely on. The back-to-back ransomware attacks occurred in mid-June but car dealerships are still recovering from having their operations paralyzed for about ten days. The good news is that dealerships do not think that customer private information has been stolen but that has not been confirmed. We will notify you if our teams find any data sets related to this attack on the dark web.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

Update – Ticketmaster/Live Nation Breach Alert: 560 Million Fans Impacted

Update – Ticketmaster/Live Nation Breach Alert: 560 Million Fans Impacted

Ticketmaster Entertainment, LLC is an American ticket sales and distribution company based in Beverly Hills, California with operations in many countries around the world. In 2010, it merged with Live Nation under the name Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketing giant Live Nation confirmed this summer that it has been the victim of a cyber attack. We have just learned that the breach origin date is May 20, 2024. Personal data from over half a billion users have been exposed. Data stolen can include full names, addresses, email addresses, birth dates, credit card type, the last four digits and credit card expiration dates used for ticket sales. Learn More

We suggest that you protect yourself by doing the following if you have a Ticketmaster account:

– Change your password immediately and frequently. Although it might be easier to remember, try to resist the urge to use the same password across multiple accounts.

– Utilize two-factor authentication when it is available.

– If solicited online, never share any personal identifying information or financial account numbers. Only give out information to an individual you know or a company that you are 100% certain about.

This is definitely not the first time Ticketmaster has made the news. If you have a Swiftie in the household, you likely already know the debacle surrounding Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift’s Eras tour that started in 2022. If you are interested in the timeline of the chaos, check out People’s article of events. Learn More

Now is not the time to let your guard down. Knowledge is power. Being informed of what steps you may need to take can help ease the potential damage (and your stress level) if your identity has been compromised. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

Image courtesy credit: Erfan Parhizi via unsplash.com

UPDATE from Ticketmaster – July 3, 2024: Ticketmaster has contacted those who may be affected. They state via email that they “take the protection of personal information very seriously.” They explain that an unauthorized third party obtained information from a cloud database hosted by a third-party data services provider. Based on their investigation, they determined that the unauthorized activity occurred on May 27, 2024. They note that they are working to mitigate risk to their users and the company, and have notified and are cooperating with law enforcement and regulatory authorities.

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 may still look a bit different if 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 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!

Unfortunately during this time of year crooks might pop up who 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 five specific scams during this time of remembrance:

Fake military charities. Scammers will send out emails, phone calls, direct mailers and send texts using the same outreach practices as well-known legitimate nonprofits. Be wary of messages that contain words like “disabled,” “heroes,” and “warriors” and always double-check the exact name and spelling of the charity.

Fake rental properties. Scammers take out classified ads and will use photos from legitimate rental properties that promise military discounts or other incentives.

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.

Veteran benefit 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.

Misleading car sales. Some websites post ads that contain false discounts for those in the military. There is also an increase of ads that claim to be from soldiers who need to sell their autos quickly due to deployment.

Stay safe this weekend and please reach out to us if needed. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.GUARD (4827) and [email protected].

Photo courtesy Justin Casey via unsplash.com

 

ALERT: Toll Smishing Text Scam – Do Not Click!

ALERT: Toll Smishing Text Scam – Do Not Click!

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, the FBI and SunPass are warning drivers of a text message smishing scam that requests payment for unpaid tolls. The FBI is recommending that if you receive a message like the one shown below, to take the following actions:

– Do not click the link in the text.

– Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3, at www.ic3.gov, and include the phone number the text came from and the website listed within the text.

– If you have an EZ-Pass or SunPass account, check it via their legitimate website and let them know about the text.

– Delete the smishing text you received.

– If for any reason you accidentally clicked the link in the text and made a payment, contact your financial institution immediately to help secure your personal information and financial accounts. Contact our Member Services team at 1.888.966.4827 (GUARD) or email [email protected].

Screenshot image of a sample scam on an iphone

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 occur. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 1.888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

AT&T Breach Alert: 73 Million Impacted

AT&T Breach Alert: 73 Million Impacted

Our security teams have recently discovered that AT&T, one of the main US telecommunications companies, has suffered an enormous data breach. Data from 73 million current and former customers has been leaked on the dark web. In August, 2021, the company originally said that they did not suffer a data breach after a well-known threat actor claimed to be selling a database containing the personal information of 70 million customers. Although the hacking date remains unclear, one in five Americans have now been impacted. Data exposed include name, address, date of birth, phone number and social security numbers.

The company stated that it is not yet known whether the data originated from AT&T or one of its vendors. The company added that “currently AT&T does not have evidence of unauthorized access to its systems resulting in exfiltration of the data set.” The company said that it is reaching out to customers to reset their account pass codes and is also urging customers to remain alert about changes to their accounts or credit reports. LEARN MORE

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).

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Consumer Fraud Losses Top $10 Billion

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released data showing that consumers reported losing more than $10 billion to fraud in 2023. This marks a 14% increase over reported losses in 2022. Fraud data came from 2.6 million consumers last year, nearly the same as 2022. Consumers reported to the FTC that they lost more money to investment scams – more than $4.6 billion – than any other category in 2023. The second highest loss category was imposter scams with losses of nearly $2.7 billion.

The following is a breakdown of the top frauds reported:

– Imposter scams (in business and government impersonators)

– Online shopping scams

– Prizes, sweepstakes and lottery scams

– Investment scams

– Business and job opportunity scams

The method scammers reportedly used to reach consumers most commonly was via email, which has displaced text messages. Phone calls are now the second most reported contact method. LEARN MORE

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).

 

Keeping Kids Safe from Recruitment Scams

Keeping Kids Safe from Recruitment Scams

More than half of all workers worldwide are actively searching for another job or watching for openings. Are you one of them? Although it can be an exciting time to find a new career or income stream, the job search process can be very stressful, time-consuming and possibly full of disappointment. Scammers are taking advantage of these confusing feelings and are continuously creating recruitment scams. Unfortunately, they aren’t just targeting adults.

If you have children, they may be looking for their first ideal job, especially with summer approaching. In 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the youth labor force grew by 2.2 million (10.4%) over the previous year with a labor force participation rate for all youth being 60.2% in July, 2023. The number of individuals in the youth labor force, defined as 16-24 year olds, who are actively looking for work grows sharply between April and July each year when large numbers of high school and college students search for summer jobs and many graduates enter the labor market for permanent employment. LEARN MORE

As with all scams, the best weapon against recruitment scams is awareness and education. Scammers advertise jobs the same way honest employers do: online on job boards, social media, ads, radio and TV. Teens and adults are being targeted with work-from-home scams that include reshipping and/or reselling merchandise, mystery shopping and being a nanny. Adult caregiver and personal virtual assistant job scams are plentiful as well.

If you or a loved one is job searching, the Federal Trade Commission suggests to start with reliable resources:

– Search online for the name of the company or person who’s trying to hire you with the words “scam” “review” or “complaint.”

– Talk to someone you trust. Describe the offer and ask for their opinion.

– Never pay for the promise of a job. Honest placement firms do not typically charge a fee to job candidates. It is the hiring company that pays them a fee to find qualified candidates.

USAJobs.gov is the federal government’s official site with job openings nationwide.

CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and lists hundreds of thousands of jobs and links to employment and training programs in each state.

USA.gov is a website that finds local government websites which lists any open positions they may have.

Recruitment scams are now a global concern that span across all industries. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) has been targeted by scammers and has repeatedly been the victim of recruitment scams. The only official and legitimate domain for KIND is @supportkind.org. If you receive any communication concerning employment opportunities with the organization but it comes from an email domain other than @supportkind.org, the communication is not authorized by the KIND organization. LEARN MORE

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).

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Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

Holiday Rental Scams are Not on Your Wish List

There is expected to be over 115 million people traveling this holiday season. If you and your family are in the same boat (or plane or car or train), please be aware that holiday rental scams are abundant and there isn’t any hope that they are going away anytime soon.

If you are renting a vehicle and/or housing for the holidays, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

– A legitimate rental company will not ask you to prepay for a rental with a gift card or prepaid debit card. Research the rental company’s name along with terms such as ‘scam’ ‘reviews’ and ‘complaints.’

– Be aware that rental listings can be hijacked and fake. The contact information can be changed and the listing could be re-posted on many different sites and occasionally list properties that don’t actually exist. Search online for the actual rental location’s address along with the name of the property owner or rental company. If other ads come up for the same address, the listing has most likely been hijacked. If your request to check out the property first before agreeing to rent is met with the owner or rental company saying they are “not available” or “out of the country,” and they insist on you paying an application fee and deposit first, check around for a new place to spend the holidays.

– Do not consider paying by a payment app, such as Venmo or PayPal. Instead, pay by credit card which will give you the best protection and make it easier for you to get your money back if it is a scam.

For more information on how to keep your holidays happy and fraud-free, check out this blog.

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: AAA and Federal Trade Commission

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