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Posting vaccine selfies can make you a target

No matter how excited you are about getting the coronavirus vaccine, do not post a selfie online showing the details of your vaccination card.

The card will list your full name, birth date and where you got the shots. Publicizing this information could make you a target for identity theft, says the Better Business Bureau.

It also could make it easier for scammers to create and sell fake vaccination cards.

If you do want to boast to your friends, consider sharing only your vaccine photo or setting a frame around your profile picture, the BBB says.

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Despite what you see on Caller ID, that’s probably not the FBI calling.

The agency’s Albuquerque has seen a recent increase in calls that spoof its main office number. The point is to scare people into paying money, usually in the form of gift cards.

“While the FBI does not want the public to ignore calls that appear to come from law enforcement, be aware that neither the FBI nor any other legitimate law enforcement officer will ever demand cash or gift cards from you,” says an agency alert.

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A new report shows that the number of data breaches in 2020 dropped by 19% compared to the year before.

As part of a continuing trend, cybercriminals are showing more interest in attacking businesses via phishing or ransomware rather than stealing large amounts of consumers’ personal information through data breaches, according to the annual report by the Identity Theft Resource Center.

The preferred method of hitting businesses is through stolen employee credentials, such as logins and passwords, the center says. “Threat actors” are also sending phishing emails to employees asking them to click a link in an unsolicited email, text or social media account.

“Ransomware and phishing require less effort, are largely automated and generate payouts that are much higher than taking over the accounts of individuals,” the report said. “One ransomware attack can generate as much revenue in minutes as hundreds of individual identity theft attempts over months or years.”

Still, despite the decline, there were more than 1,000 data breaches tracked last year, the report said.

And that means consumers should continue to be vigilant about data breaches and the theft of personal information.

“Our analysis does not suggest that consumers can relax as cybercriminals look elsewhere for quick, easy wins,” the report says. “Identity thieves still steal and misuse consumers’ personal information even as the information they want and how they obtain it changes.”

For individuals, the center recommends these security measures:

n Do not reuse passwords. Create a unique one for each account you have.

n Passwords should be at least 12 characters long.

n Whenever possible, use multi-factor authentication. This is a practice in which you must log in not only with your password but with a second form of identification, such as a code texted to your phone.

n Consider creating online accounts so cybercriminals can’t create one in your name.

n Use a secure password manager, if needed.

Basic protection for businesses, the center says, includes frequently backing up systems, patching software flaws as soon as notified and refusing to pay ransom demands.

Contact Ellen Marks at emarks@abqjournal.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210​.

 

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