Is Your Personal Information Properly Protected?
February 22nd, 2017 by admin
Do you know how easy it is to fall victim to identity theft or have a personal data breach happen to you? With new technologies continuing to emerge and our dependence on them increasing, each day there are more online activities taking place such as paying bills, filing taxes and shopping online. With the rise in cybercrime today, you can never be too careful.
You can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft by keeping your personal information protected. Here are a few ways for you to protect your personal information.
Ensure You Use Strong Passwords
You should follow this practice for all your online accounts, but it is imperative for things like your bank and credit card accounts. To ensure your password is strong, be sure it:
- Doesn’t contain any of your personal information like your first name.
- Doesn’t include a username you use.
- Includes a minimum of 8 characters with special characters, numbers and an uppercase letter.
- Is unique for the account. That is, never use the same password for multiple accounts, sites or applications.
You could always try this idea: Come up with a special phrase. Then, take each word and use its first letter for your password.
Although it can be difficult to remember a different password for 20 different accounts, using the same password for them all is just asking for trouble. All it takes is for a person to perform a phishing attack and get access to your password and they will be able to get into all your accounts. Write down your passwords if you can’t remember them and store them in a secure place.
You can also utilize a password manager that will generate unique and strong passwords for you and remember them. All you do is click a button and it will fill your passwords in login fields automatically.
Protect Your Social Security Number
Be very selective about who you share your social security number with, whether online or face-to-face. This includes its last 4 digits. Unless it is for a credit bureau, the IRS, your bank or a company looking to do a background check on you, don’t even give out the last 4 digits of your number because if scammers have other bits of information like your address and birth date, it’s easy for them to steal your identity and rack up debt in your name.
Get Anti-Virus Software and Update Everything
Ensure all your electronic devices and computers are updated properly. You should:
- Purchase a multi-faceted security software that you trust that protects you against spyware, virus, unwanted emails, hackers and phishing scams
- Ensure this software is always updated properly
- Backup all your information and keep all browsers like Firefox and Chrome updated
When accessing the Internet, ensure you do it from behind a firewall. This will ensure you get that extra security layer between the Internet and your computer which helps keep hackers from using your computer to attack other users, destroying your files and even worse, stealing your identity.
In addition to these, you should consider taking the following steps to also protect your personal information:
- Share information with only people you trust.
- Store your Social Security number and other personal information securely; shred things like bank statements, utility bills, etc.
- Before you share sensitive information, be sure to ask questions first.
- Take appropriate measures to ensure all your electronic devices and computers are secured.
In the event your identity is hacked, did you know you can protect yourself with insurance coverage? Having an insurance policy in place will cover you in the event you do become a victim of identity theft and have thousands of dollars stolen from you or if a hacker causes a data breach on your part.