I’ve written a lot in the past about identity theft and the importance of protecting your online accounts. These six points were contained in an email from my mortgage broker and I think they definitely are worth repeating.
1. Update software. The latest computer, smartphone and apps software is the most secure. Update now and choose ‘Update Automatically’ in Settings. Update your WiFi router on its app or Web setup page.
2. Strengthen passwords. Make them long strings of random upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Use a different one for every site. Turn on two-factor authentication for Apple ID, Google, Facebook (‘login approvals’), Microsoft, Twitter (‘login verification’) and banks. Use a password manager to sync devices.
3. Encrypt data. Makes it hard for someone to access information if they get your device. Encrypt with a password or fingerprint screen lock, or turn on ‘encryption’ in Settings. Use Disk Utility on external drives.
4. Privatize browsers. Select ‘clear browsing data.’ (This deletes passwords which shouldn’t be saved on sites anyway.) Activate ‘Do Not Track’ in Settings. Block trackers with an extension (Ghostery, Disconnect, EFF’s Privacy Badger). Opt out of ad tracking at http://www.aboutads.info/choices/
5. Check apps. Find out which ones access locations and data and turn off if not used. Check Settings for Privacy permissions. Check Google and Facebook security. Delete Facebook apps you don’t want.
6. Think! Don’t click on email links or attachments you don’t expect. Make online payments only on secure “https” sites. Double-check public hotspot names, or use a VPN—HotSpot Shield (Windows, Android), Cloak (iPhone, Mac). Use PayPal on unfamiliar sites. Don’t pay online with debit cards or put account info in emails.
For more information about protecting your digital assets, go to www.diesmart.com.
Oregon became the first state to adopt the revised Uniform fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act when Governor Kate Brown signed it into law on March 3, 2016. It will become effective on January 1, 2017.
The revised act is designed to ensure that account holders can retail control of their digital property and can plan for its disposition after their death. It also helps avoid circumstances where online service providers delete deceased’s accounts without authorization or refuse to hand over access and information to permitted fiduciaries.
Any free Yahoo account will automatically be cancelled after it has been inactive for 90 days. Premium services, however, will continue to be charged until Yahoo has been officially notified of the death of the account holder.
Only a person who has the authority to settle the deceased’s estate, i.e. an executor, can notify them about the death. To do that, the following information must be sent to Yahoo at Custodian of Record, Yahoo Inc., 701 First Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1019:
1) The executor’s identification.
2) Notification of their appointment as executor.
3) A Copy of the death certificate.
What if the executor or family member just wants the deceased’s password or access to their Yahoo account? No password will be issued by Yahoo to the executor or anyone else.
Only the executor of the estate can close a PayPal account that is held in the name of the deceased. To do so, the executor must fax the following documentation to 402-537-5732:
1) A cover sheet that says the account holder is deceased and the executor wishes to close the account.
2) A copy of the account holder’s death certificate.
3) A copy of the deceased account holder’s will or other legal documentation that provides verification about the executor.
4) A copy of a photo ID of the executor.
The faxed documentation will be reviewed and, if approved, the account will be closed. If funds are available in the account, a check will be issued in the account holder’s name, and the Executor of the Estate will then have the ability to cash the check.
What if somone wants the deceased’s password or access to the account?
According to PayPal, any requests for information about an account other than to close it must be obtained through a subpoena.
If a loved one has left his or her login information – user name and password – where you can find it, there’s no problem. All you have to do is the following:
1) Open the account that you want to delete.
2) Go to Account Settings.
3) Look for the Deactivate Account button at the bottom of the page.
4) Just click on it and the account is deactivated.
Another option is to memorialize the account. This means that certain sensitive information is removed from the account and privacy is set so only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in a search. The Wall remains so these friends and family can leave posts in remembrance. To memorialize an account, go to http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhelp%2Fcontact.php%3Fshow_form%3Ddeceased&h=e5091bd54d848d4ca97832694b87dcd0. This will bring up a list of Facebook FAQs; one of them says “I’d like to report a deceased user or an account that needs to be memorialized.” Within that FAQ is a link to the correct form where you will need to enter the information requested.
Facebook says “that in order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone.” They do claim to honor requests from close family members to close the account completely; however, we were unable to find any information on how to do so.
Perhaps the deceased’s account will remain in cyberspace forever!