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Why You Need a Personal Risk Assessment

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It is essential for everyone to understand the high personal risk they face daily based on accessibility of their confidential data, and to understand how to mitigate the risk while protecting themselves and their loved ones.

Most people are unaware that there are many opportunities for retrieving confidential data by doing nothing more than conducting a Google search or by mining social media sites for the targets and their family and friends. 

While it is difficult to become ‘invisible’ and attain a reasonable level of privacy and security in today’s open environment, but for those who are well prepared and vigilant, they can achieve a level of success. Some very practical and reasonable tips for deterring perpetrators and ensuring a better level of digital protection include ideas such as:

  • Never providing a real name when ordering food deliveries
  • Opening a post office box as a mailing address
  • Sending packages to a work address (including magazines)
  • Only logging in to trusted platforms
  • Restricting the use of social media or ceasing to use it entirely, and ultimately
  • Stop sharing compromising information

The subject of your personal risk has grown into a serious issue today.  It is a pervasive problem, making it critically important for everyone to understand why there should be a focus on maintaining their personal security as well as to understand how to alter entrenched daily habits to ensure greater security for them and their family.

The intense focus on the rapid rise in cybercrime has resulted in a corresponding decline in concern over personal safety for most high profile business leaders despite the seriousness of the situation.  As articles and presentations continue to address the use of technology to compromise critical and confidential data gathered from individuals and companies, the personal vulnerability and safety of individuals is often overlooked. The conversation needs to shift in order to include the full spectrum of challenges that are being driven by technology applications.

This is the key: Pertinent information is easily available, most often accessed from a quick and informal search of public records from state and federal government sources, public records, property deeds, voter records, marriage, birth and death records, court proceedings, drivers’ licenses, motor vehicle records and professional licenses.   

As a picture regarding an individual’s personal situation begins to emerge, even more substantiating data is collected from professional registries and directories, blogs, and social network sites.

Why does access to personal information matter?  

It matters because of the depth of the impact on everyone and anyone’s security. This  is a problem that goes well beyond inconveniencing those who enjoy celebrity status - or executives and CEOs or high net worth individuals - who are always susceptible to extortion, theft, scams, stalking, physical violence and other malicious attacks. In fact it is a problem that is much broader in scope. Recalcitrant and angry employees, vendors and others who feel they have been victimized, can obtain phone numbers, addresses, children’s school schedules, voting records, and even social security numbers, if they are intent on wreaking havoc by using threats and other means to be disruptive and dangerous to their targets.

Dr. Kim Miller, CFE
Sobel & Co. Senior Forensic Investigative Analyst

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