This New Year make it count by doing as much as you can to avoid identity theft and fraud by taking the following easy steps. The more you know about protecting yourself, the harder it is for an identity thief to steal your identity.
Passwords are for the closet
Keep your passwords in a secure place other than on your computer. This year keep your passwords safe and close at hand with a password journal you can keep right next to you or in your safe. Instead of scrambling when you get locked out of your computer this year, save time by keeping your passwords anywhere else but on your computer or cell phone. Remember these are both accessible to hackers.
Be publicly aware
Stay identity theft safe in public or when you are at a coffee shop like Starbucks by turning off your bluetooth. You should also never log into your personal accounts using your passwords in public. Cyber criminals and identity thieves spy on us when we are in public so be sure this year to give yourself identity theft protection.
Keep it all clean
Clean your computer and phone regularly. Make sure to scan them for viruses, malware and other malicious content. For a free virus scan, visit Trend Micro’s Housecall. Whenever your computer runs slow, scan it.
Report all scams!
If you encounter a scam or are approached by an offer that seems too good to be true, chances are you could be an identity thief’s next target. Even if you don’t fall for the scam, but it seems fishy, report it to the FTC by visiting the FTC complaint center as well. The best thing you and your loved ones need to do this year is report all scams including spam so the FTC can warn others.
Shred it all!
Never leave your personal information on anything you throw out. Whenever your name and address appear on a letter, your legal identity becomes known; so before you throw out the latest ad from your favorite clothing store, shred it!
Keep your phone number private
Identity theft protection starts with being more aware of ways to protect yourself. Keep in mind that whenever you enter your phone number onto a website, your personal number becomes data. If someone runs your credit and your phone number is on the form, then your number becomes data as well which can then be legally sold. Your job then is to make sure you are on the Do Not Call registry and be prepared to report all violators!