We all have the best intentions when it comes to safeguarding our personal information from identity thieves. Checking credit reports, securing important documents and regular shredding should be at the top of our to-do lists.
Below is a to-do list to help you protect your identity:
1. Shred it. Shred everything with your name and address, such as statements and invoices, receipts, return address stickers, envelopes, catalogs and—especially—pre-approved credit offers, credit card checks, and insurance-related materials. Prescription labels are often overlooked, but these contain personal information so peel them off & shred.
2. Guard it. Encrypt emails and computer files that contain personal or account information. Use firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware programs. Protect your smartphone as you would a computer. Keep all your technology current with the latest security updates.
3. Lock it up. Keep computers, paper files such as bank or credit card statements, passports, Social Security cards, earnings statements, birth certificates and any other documents with personal identifying information behind closed—and locked—doors or in locked drawers.
4. Check your credit reports early and often. Review your credit reports from the three reporting agencies—TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax—twice a year. Visit annualcreditreport.com.
5. Keep your Social Security number to yourself. It takes surprisingly little to set up fraudulent accounts and establish false credit in someone else’s name—sometimes only a Social Security number (SSN) and address will do.
6. Update security software. Install and update security software on all electronic devices.
7. Strong usernames and passwords, Remember use passphrase or better yet use two factor authentication such as a TXT. Use different passwords for work and personal email accounts and never share them online or via text.
8. Cover cameras on all your devices. Read more here goo.gl/bn3QCE
By using caution and following these tips, you can help secure your new computer or device, and protect your information. If you need help with a specific device email firstname.lastname@example.org