Monday, July 04, 2011

How to Protect Yourself From GPS Identity Theft

According to Proofpoints’ Top 10 Privacy Issues Predictions to 2011 Protection, some of their top 10 privacy issues include mobile GPS location information, social media and breach notification laws. There are currently 46 states that have some sort of breach notification law either passed or before lawmaking bodies.

According to Proofpoint there will be an increase in attacks on social media sites like Facebook and MySpace. Approximately ¼ of all time online is spent on social networks. Social network sites appeal to identity thieves because it takes advantage of our natural disposition to be nice by clicking on link, accepting friend requests from people we don’t know, clicking on advertisements, etc.

Law enforcement officials have warned against leaving valuables in parked cars due to GPS location information breaches. A wallet left in a car glove compartment can lead to identity theft. Thieves break into vehicles to steal a few credit cards but leave the other cards to hide their crime.

A garage-opening remote control can give car thieves easy access to your home. Thieves can get your address from your car registration and/or insurance documents in your glove compartment or from the GPS device itself. Then drive your car to your house and use the remote to open the garage door to enter your house or steal items in your garage. Thieves take your information and buy social security numbers on the internet to open credit card accounts in your name. Several agencies sell personal information to those who do background checks such as private investigators or credit card companies which in some cases gets into the hands of thieves.

Thieves break into cars and use dashboard-mounted GPS devices to learn the owner’s home address to burglarize the home while the owner is inside a restaurant, store or other building. Thieves can also use the GPS to rob your home while you are not there. GPS devices are stolen and sold online or in pawn shops.

GPS devices allow others to track your location without your knowledge including when using GPS on smartphones such as the Blackberry and iPhone. When you take a picture and post it on your social media profile data is linked to it. GPS devices provide location information or data called geotagging which are embedded in file formats such as .jpg, .mov, pictures, videos, etc. The data is not visible to users.

Browser plug-ins or certain software programs such as Twittervision can reveal the location information to anyone who wants to see it. If you load pictures on your computer this information is also stored on your computer. The location information can review your: home address, who created the file, when, where, work address, places you visit often, the time you visited a place, how often you visit, how far away you are from your home, etc. It can also reveal information about appointments with doctors, salons, etc.

Here are 8 ways to protect yourself from GPS identity theft
1. Labels. Users of GPS devices should label their home address as something unfamiliar instead of using “home”.
2. Announcements. Avoid telling everyone on your Facebook status that you are out of town, at a show, at a restaurant, checking in to a place or are not home. Avoid responding to event invites on social media profiles selecting “I’m attending”. Instead select “Maybe”.
3. Detach GPS. Detach your GPS device from the dashboard with the cord and holder when you park your car and carry it with you or hide it in the car but not the glove compartment. It the GPS device leaves a suction mark wipe it before leaving the car.
4. Hide car documentation. A glove compartment is the first place car thieves look for documents with your address. Hide the somewhere else in the car or carry them with you until you get back in the car.
5. Report Thief. If your car is broken into report the theft to your local police station.
6. Assistance. Ask your neighbors to watch your home for any suspicious activity while you’re gone and to contact police immediately if they notice your car or any other car in your driveway when they know you’re not at home.
7. Use Caution when Uploading. Disable geotagging information or applications before uploading pictures. Check your smart phone manual for instructions or do a search on the internet for your type of smart phone.
8. Privacy Settings. Update your privacy settings on your social media profiles by turning off location sharing features. Adjust

1 comment:

Natasha A. Pierre said...

Great information, Harrine! Sharing!