Unfortunately, we live in a time when identity theft and fraud are running rampant. Almost every month we hear of major security breaches, with companies like Yahoo, Uber, Equifax, and Dropbox all compromised.
When these types of breaches occur, millions of usernames and passwords are hacked, often resulting in identity theft and fraud.
So what can you do to protect yourself in 2018? What steps can you take to ensure that you don’t get hacked?
We’re going to break down the how, what, and why of protecting yourself, touching on everything from your digital accounts to your bank account.
Many times, identity theft starts with a digital breach. From there it often moves to bank accounts and credit cards, which can be an absolute nightmare. In order to protect yourself against these things, follow these ten steps.
#1 – Shred your documents
Don’t toss bank statements and credit card receipts in the trash. Destroy them using a cross-cut shredder or shredding service.
#2 – Strengthen your passwords
Use random combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters. Create different passwords for each account and alter them frequently. Alternatively, you can use a password manager like OnePass or Dashlane to create and manage all your passwords for you.
#3 – Check your credit reports
You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Request one report every four months and review it for suspicious or incorrect information. LINK TO CREDIT REPORT SERVICE
#4 – Guard your Social Security Number
Avoid sharing it when it’s not absolutely necessary, and don’t keep it, or your Social Security card, in your wallet. After all, this is typically a key identifier for many accounts.
#5 – Be smart about social media
It is smartest to leave personal details, such as your birthday or address, off your profiles. This information can be used in an effort to get you to click on malicious links. Utilize your privacy settings and be cautious about whom you accept as a connection.
#6 – Secure your phone
Lock your device with a password, turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it, and be cautious when downloading apps — only download from sources you know and trust. Additionally, consider using end-to-end encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp.
#7 – Know the signs of phishing
Phishing is when a scammer creates a legitimate-looking email or contact that is intended to steal personal for information. For example, they may create a password reset email that looks like it’s from Google in an effort to get you to type in your password. Watch out for emails, links, or unsolicited phone calls asking for your personal information.
#8 – Monitor your financial statements
Report any suspicious activity in your bank accounts and credit card accounts as soon as you notice it. Many banks offer fraud protection apps that are worth investigating for another level of security. If your bank or credit-card company offers free online or mobile apps that will warn you of suspicious account activity as soon as it’s detected, sign up for them.
#9 – Keep your mail safe
Stealing your mail is one of the easiest ways for a thief to steal your identity. Consider using a locked mailbox or P.O.Box, and have the post office hold your mail if you go out of town. Additionally, shred any mail that could contain personal information such as credit card or bank statements.
These guidelines can help you keep sensitive information safe. Remember to be proactive to protect your personal information. These tips will be useless after your identity is stolen.
For more information including:
* Fraud Alerts and Security Freezes
* How Do I Protect My Identity For Free?
* How Do You Prevent Credit Card Skimming?
* How Do I Protect My Financial Accounts?