Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Online Info Blog Strategies against identity theft and financial fraud

Identity theft is all around us, even in Joliet and Will County. It seems that almost every week, we read about an identity theft arrest or a warning on the latest scam. From an unsolicited phone call requesting financial information to an email seeking your Social Security number to claim a prize, it’s likely that many of us have experienced an attempt at identity theft or financial fraud. Make sure to regularly scan statements for any unusual charges, as that can help with early detection. In addition, take advantage of requesting the three free credit reports you are entitled to each year.

There is no doubt we live in an age of technology. Almost everything can be done from the comfort of our own computers or on a smartphone, but keeping up with all the advances can be difficult, and technology can also represent new points of access for identity thieves. It is not uncommon for identity thieves to get creative in locating personal information. How many of us think twice before throwing away a paper statement or bill? It may not seem like a big deal, but these types of documents contain a wealth of personal information that can be used to perpetuate fraud.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Online Info Blog: How to prevent hackers from stealing your W-2 tax forms

The warning follows several incidents in which hackers sent company officials what appeared to be legitimate requests for copies of their workers’ W-2s. Renovate America, a solar financing company in Rancho Bernardo, inadvertently gave a hacker sensitive tax information for about 800 current and former employees. Such “phishing” attacks are increasing — and can be avoided, said Kevin O’Brien, chief executive of GreatHorn, a Boston-based security company. O’Brien discussed the problem and what to do about it during an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune.

If you read the IRS' advice, it’s largely about what to do when a business user recognizes one of these attacks. Sadly, relying on folks who are just doing their jobs — and who are likely under pressure as tax season rolls around — to somehow identify sophisticated spoofing attacks and then flag them is a fool’s errand. The reality is that even with strong, foundational security in place, nearly 1 percent of all emails that get around existing security tools businesses invest in have indicators of fraud within them. That sounds small until you realize that by the end of this year, over 132 billion emails will be sent every single day. That’s a lot of malicious messages that could trick someone into giving up your family’s most private data.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Online Info Blog: Beat the scammers

We must remember a mind-boggling array of passwords and PINs to survive the technological challenges of the 21st Century. According to credit-checking agency Experian most of us use at least two dozen of these online codes on a daily basis. They are required not just for regular tasks, such as getting in to a computer, paying a utility bill and online shopping. But they are also necessary for using mobile phones, chatting on social media, club memberships and watching online TV. It is not surprising a majority of us struggle to juggle different passwords in our head. Indeed, a quarter of us forget at least one login detail every day. This means we often adopt easy-to-remember ‘weak’ passwords that use familiar names such as a beloved pet or a family member.
Security experts believe this is a dangerous strategy and a relatively easy one for criminals to crack. It is suggested ‘strong’ passwords of up to a dozen characters randomly chosen – letters, numbers and even symbols – offer much better security. Three-quarters of us also use the same password for more than one account. But to stop fraudsters getting hold of your details it is recommended each service you use has its own password. There are ways you can create and remember secure passwords – in imaginative ways that will not leave you worried or with a headache.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Eastern Alliance Insurance Geographic Expansion

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group (EAIG) has announced it will open an office in Grandville, Michigan, as part of the company’s geographic expansion plan. The Grandville office, located at 3980 Chicago Drive, is the company’s first office in the state of Michigan. “I am pleased to announce the opening of our new Grandville, Michigan office,” said Michael Boguski, President of EAIG. “Through this newly established office, we will service businesses in Michigan with a fresh outlook and customized approach to their workers’ compensation insurance programs.” 
The Grandville, Michigan site is a satellite location of EAIG’s Carmel, Indiana Midwest regional office, and will be staffed with underwriting, marketing, claims and risk management professionals. The company has appointed 14 agency partners in Michigan since entering the state in 2011. EAIG offers an innovative line of workers’ compensation products and services, as well as exclusive brands and programs including: ParallelPay “pay-as-you-go” premium payment plan, unite individualized underwriting and services for small business, Inova alternative market insurance, and ecovery Return to Wellness. Billboards, announcing the arrival of Eastern Alliance Insurance Group with “fresh outlooks, better outcomes,” will begin appearing throughout the Grand Rapids region in July.
Founded in 1997, EAIG is a specialty underwriter of workers’ compensation products and services for businesses and organizations in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Gulf South regions of the United States. EAIG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the publicly-held ProAssurance Corporation, and has offices in Lancaster and Wexford, Pennsylvania, Charlotte, North Carolina, Carmel, Indiana, Franklin, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, and Madison, Mississippi.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Online Info Blog Love scams a big worry

The police have made some headway in beating online scams that cheat victims of their money, but some Internet cons are proving stubbornly resistant. While commercial crime decreased by 0.6 per cent overall, Internet love scams hit an all-time high last year with 636 cases, up from 385 in 2015. The total amount cheated was also the highest by far at $24 million - double the $12 million victims were fooled into giving in 2015. The largest amount from a single victim was $1.7 million. In most Internet love scams, offenders befriended their victims on social media or online chat apps, charming their way into these strangers' lives before making off with their money.
Commercial crime, which counts Internet love scams, e-commerce cheating and other impersonation scams, are crimes that deceive victims into handing over goods or money through forgery and impersonation. But with public education and cooperation from international agencies, anti-scam efforts bore fruit in other areas, the police said in a press conference yesterday. E-commerce cheating decreased from 2,239 cases in 2015 to 2,105 last year. Victims lost $1.5 million compared with at least $1.9 million in 2015. A scam which surfaced in April last year in which conmen pose as officials from China to dupe victims into remitting money has also tapered off.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Employers N3L3

Companies, organizations, and government have come a long way implementing safety programs to help keep workers safe from both minor and serious injuries. However, evidence shows while minor accidents have declined, the more serious ones haven’t, and are even on the rise in some industries. In many cases, the worker, although trained, does not take the proper precautions to keep themselves safe. In the few seconds before an accident occurs, the worker sometimes makes a risky decision thinking it’s okay to proceed.
That’s where Eastern Alliance’s N3L3 philosophy comes in – our approach to helping workers avoid fatal and life-changing injuries by alerting their instincts so they always pause and “think safety” before moving forward. This re-teaches workers to consciously and subconsciously take a few seconds to rethink the present situation: “Hey! I could really get hurt here! I’d better take a few seconds to check this out, just in case.” That’s what Eastern’s N3L3 is all about.
At Eastern, we’ve carefully studied circumstances in which serious accidents occur and determined the three seconds before a task is performed can impact the last three seconds. The chances of avoiding a serious accident are greatly improved when a worker is conditioned to stop and think about how to do the job safely. Implementing a N3L3 way of thinking creates a safety culture that instinctively changes the way a worker thinks and avoids the possibility that the “Next Three Seconds could be your Last Three Seconds".

Monday, February 6, 2017

Online Info Blog: Tips on protecting yourself from fraud

Fraud prevention is one of our primary and constant concerns in today’s world where modern technology reigns. Follow these simple steps to help keep you fraud-free:

1. Be sensitive and suspicious enough in giving your personal information to a person or organization you are dealing with online. Fraudster tricks their victims into revealing confidential information using an ample amount of information they have on you.

2. Any online account you have will definitely have a password to prevent unauthorized people from modifying your account. In this case, it is wise to choose or generate a password that is strong enough and cannot be easily guessed by anyone.

3. ATM’s or cash machines are a popular method of withdrawing money. It is of great help but there are also various ways in which ATMs can be used to work against us. Thus, it is better to become extra careful in using ATM’s or cash machines because there’s a possibility that an installed device are attached that clones or traps your card. Based on studies, around 100,000 people a year fall victim to fraud related to skimmed or cloned debit and credit cards.

4. Many fraudsters will send an email claiming that they are from the bank and will require you to click a link and follow a certain instruction, when incident similar to this happened, ignore it the email.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group Review Culture

Eastern employees have a strong work ethic and have established a reputation for providing excellent customer service and exceeding expectations. Our energetic team environment is best suited for an individual who is motivated, goal oriented and looking for a company that offers a positive, challenging environment where he or she can grow both personally and professionally. To attract and retain such individuals, Eastern offers competitive wages, an attractive benefits program.
A well-rounded education not only enhances the individual employees skill and knowledge base, but knowledge gained by employees through the educational process can also be shared with co-workers and add value to the organization. Eastern starts by recruiting dedicated, enthusiastic individuals who complete a comprehensive training program designed to provide an overview of Eastern departments functions. During each employee’s annual performance review, plans are outlined for his/her continued growth and development. Tuition reimbursement, job training and goal-setting are offered, along with access to an educational resource library, and paid time off rewards for employees earning advanced certifications. Eastern offers regular departmental training sessions that include guest speakers and sponsors several off-site training programs for employees. Employees enjoy many career opportunities present in a company with a history of growth and a commitment to professional and career development.