Today’s post is part of an on-going series during the month of March about protecting families and small business from identity theft and raising awareness about data security. On April 6th, DataShield will be hosting a free “Shredding Day” for individuals living in the Omaha area.
With the amount of data we use on a daily basis increasing exponentially every year, protecting yourself and your family from identity theft is now more important than ever. To get you started on the right track, here are 10 simple tips for protecting your family from identity theft:
- Keep track of your online logins. Online logins are a necessity, but they can also be an easy “in” for identity thieves. Change your passwords regularly, don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts, and consider using one of these secure programs for securely storing your passwords.
- Monitor your finances regularly. Monitoring your finances regularly is a great way of making sure that your credit and debit cards are safe. As the FDIC notes, monitoring your statements monthly (or better yet, daily) ensures that you catch any discrepancies early.
- Use your smartphone wisely. Mobile users are three times as likely as desktop users to submit their information for phishing scams. Always make sure to use secure websites on your phone, and consider setting a passcode to keep thieves out.
- Watch what you say on social networking sites. We live in an age where sharing is everything, so make sure to be aware of what you share. Identity thieves use Facebook, too, so make sure to secure your social media accounts and limit your sharing of personal information online.
- Use secure websites as often as possible. When browsing, but especially when purchasing something online, make sure you’re using a secure website. This is a good way to make sure that the information you’re providing is being shared securely, keeping you safe.
- Periodically ask for a copy of your credit report. The Fair Credit Report Act grants you a free credit report annually. Just like keeping track of your bank accounts, monitoring your credit report lets you track discrepancies and take care of them quickly should the need arise.
- Look out for shoulder surfers. Even if you take the proper precautions elsewhere, identity thieves can still get information by “shoulder surfing.” The next time you’re on a computer in public, be sure to be careful about what you type — you never know who’s watching.
- Pay with a credit card. The safest way to pay is with a credit card. If your payment information falls into the wrong hands, credit card companies generally provide the most protection. Use them to increase the chances of a refund in a fraudulent situation.
- Safeguard your trash. Information protection encompasses more than just digital security. Shred important documents and securely get rid of old electronics to make sure you leave nothing for thieves in your physical trash.
- Stay alert. Combined with all of the tips above, most identity theft can be prevented by keeping your guard up and following your instincts. If something seems off about a transaction, it probably is, so staying alert is a great way of staying safe.
Identity theft prevention is a nonstop battle, and many of these steps can and should be incorporated into your information habits. Staying active and alert will help ensure that your information stays safe.
For more information about DataShield’s security solutions, contact us here.