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Think about how many things you do using your smartphone, your laptop and your tablet. Whether it’s banking, checking on your child’s grades or shopping for new clothing, your passwords, accounts and other information are vulnerable. Now, there are two new warnings about security breaches involving computers and cell phones that highlight the real threat of criminals trying to steal our personal information.

Reuters is reporting that 90 percent of the world’s smartphones are at risk of password theft, stolen data and even allowing hackers to take over control of the device. The flaw affects Apple, Google Android and Blackberry devices prone to an obscure industry standard that controls everything from network connections to how user identities are managed. A separate threat, called “Fake ID,” targets three-quarters of older Android systems, allowing malicious applications to trick trusted software from Adobe, Google and others without any user notification.

And, if that’s not enough bad news, the New York Times recently ran an expose of a suspected Russian crime ring that may have stolen internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and password combinations, scoured from 420,000 websites. The criminals targeted any website they could hack from giant corporations to small businesses.

There are steps you can take to protect your personal information. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is actively involved in ID theft protection. Some of their recommendations include:

  • Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home
  • Keep our wallet or purse in a safe place at work
  • Shred all receipts, credit card offers and applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank statements and other financial documents
  • Don’t open files, click on links or download programs sent by strangers
  • Use complex passwords on computers, laptops and websites and change them often

Credit experts like ID Theft 911 also advise consumers to check your bank statement weekly, request a receipt for any purchase you make and run a free credit check annually.

An extra sense of security comes with every auto and home insurance policy from California Casualty: Free ID theft protection and resolution services from ID Theft 911. Make sure your property and identity are protected by calling a California Casualty advisor today, 1.800.800.9410.

Sources for this article:

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/31/us-mobilephone-cybersecurity-idUSKBN0G01RI20140731

http://idt911.com/en/KnowledgeCenter.aspx

http://thehackernews.com/2014/07/android-fake-id-vulnerability-allows_29.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/russian-gang-amasses-over-billion-201533714.html

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