24 Apr Protect Your Personal Information
Protecting your personal information has become more difficult with technology and online identity theft on the rise. The important thing to keep in mind, is that there are ways to keep your information safe on and offline. Taking these steps to protect your personal information is key, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
Check your credit report:
Check your credit history at least once a year. You can request a free copy of your credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Keeping an eye on your credit report will alert you of any fraudulent or suspicious activity. The earlier you see something, the better. It is best to view your report with all three, as these reports can vary between agencies.
Secure your wireless network:
Look for security software that protects you from spyware, viruses, adware, identity theft, and hackers. When creating any new accounts online, make your password at least eight characters in length, use numbers, and an upper and lower-case combination. Don’t use any birthdates, pet names, or family names. The more complicated a password is, the harder it will be to determine. If you are using the internet in a public space, make sure you have a secure Wi-Fi connection before entering in any personal information.
Steer clear of email scams:
Delete any spam or emails that ask for personal information. Phishing emails are made to look like an email from a company or friend that you would regularly interact with. As a general rule, most companies will not email you asking for personal information. Do not download any files, even from friends or family, unless you know the content is secure.
Shred private records:
To steer clear of identity theft, always destroy any papers with personal information. We recommend keeping documents, such as your birth certificate, social security card, and passports in a secure safe or deposit box. Never throw your credit card information or bank documents in the trash. When in doubt, shred anything with personal information that could be used.
Never provide personal information over the phone:
If you are receiving any calls from your credit card company, power company, bank, or any other outside party asking for your personal information, hang up. Be sure to call back at the official company’s phone number or check their website.