Repetition it key to education. That in mind, as we embark on the second half of 2016, we’d like to use this week’s blog to review the basics on identity theft protection best practices:
- Mobile device security – In our connected world, mobile devices account for a lot of our daily activities. Unfortunately, our smartphones and tablets are also wide-open gateways for a hacker to steal our identities. Make sure the apps you use are coming from trusted sources, not unregistered content publishers from third-party or aftermarket app vendors. When you’re out in public, protect your identity and conserve your battery by turning off the wifi to your device; it will keep you from accidentally connecting to a network without intending to. If you do need to get online while away from home, remember to save the sensitive activity—like online banking—for a time when you’re connected to a trusted network.
- Privacy at home – Your home technology is every bit as vulnerable as it’s always been, which is why it’s important to install software that will protect you from malware and viruses. It’s also crucial that you password protect your home internet connection to keep outsiders from accessing it. If someone accesses your network without authorization, (s)he could do damage within your connected computers as well as use your internet address to break the law.
- Be scam-savvy – One of the easiest ways to steal someone’s identity with very little technological know-how is to get them to fall for a scam. That’s why it’s important to make sure you, your family members, and your coworkers are up-to-date on the latest scams.
- Be on the lookout – One of the most important steps you can take to prevent identity theft damage is to monitor your credit reports regularly. You are entitled to one free report each year from each of the top three credit reporting agencies. If you stagger those requests—receive on in January, one in May, and on in September, for example—you’ll get an ongoing look at the state of your credit. Be sure to report any suspicious activity as soon as you discover it, and place fraud alerts and freezes on any accounts that may have been compromised.
- Safeguard yourself old school – Remember, high-tech hacking and data breaches are only part of the problem. The old methods that don’t require anything more than a willingness to steal are still viable. That means dumpster diving is a still a threat, as is mailing bills from your home address. Be sure to shred all of your important, identifying documents before you discard them, and mail your bills from the nearest post office drop box instead of leaving them at the curb with the flag up.
It’s not a fail safe but taking these steps will help. To stay up on identity theft best practices, please keep checking for our updates on www.hvshred.com