Want to make sure someone steals your identify? Play fast and loose with your financial information and personal data. Thieves look every day for someone being careless with their bank logins, social security numbers, and credit cards.
There’s no guarantee your identity will never get stolen, but you can make it more difficult by taking some simple steps.
We’ve warned you about the tech support scam and other similar phishing schemes. The goal of these unsolicited telephone calls and emails is to fool you into thinking it’s a legitimate contact from a person or organization you regularly deal with: Your bank or broker, online shopping sites, payment sites like PayPal, even friends. Never – ever! – give out personal information in response to an unsolicited email or telephone call.
When in doubt, contact the website or organization directly – don’t click on links in a suspicious email.
Enable password or passcode logins for your computer and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Install a firewall and anti-virus software on your computers and home or business networks, and keep everything up to date so they will catch the most recent threats.
When you’re shopping or banking online, make sure you’re using secure websites. You’ll know the site is secure if the website address (also called a URL) begins with “https”. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http,” don’t enter personal or financial information into the site.
Also be careful when you’re out and about on your mobile device. Public wifi connections aren’t secure – someone could easily track your movements online. Avoid banking and financial transactions when you’re connected to a public Internet connection. If you must do these activities on the road, use the cell connection; it’s more secure. Most cell providers encrypt information as is passes between the tower and your device.
Use strong passwords
A strong, hard-to-guess password is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your sensitive information. How do you create a strong password?
- Longer is better
- Don’t use real words
- Don’t use personal information (birthdays, anniversaries, names, etc.)
- Use special characters and numbers
For more information and tips, read our blog post on creating strong passwords.
Be careful offline, too
Protecting your information involves smart behavior offline, too.
Snail mail: Don’t leave your mail in the mailbox longer than you need to. Mailbox theft is common, and if you get paper statements, your data is right there waiting. Pick up your mail as soon as you can, and set up a vacation hold when you go out of town.
Better yet, opt for paperless statements when you can.
Documents: When your credit cards expire or your need to get rid of old documents containing personal and financial information, don’t just throw them away or recycle them. Shred documents, either at home or at one of the many bank-sponsored shredding days you see advertised locally.
Store sensitive documents in a safe, either at your home or in a bank deposit box.
Your wallet: Carry only what you need in your wallet or purse. Leave your social security card at home – preferably in a safe – and only carry it when you need it.
Worried about protecting your sensitive personal or business financial information? Contact PNSolutions today – we can help you make sure your computers and networks are secure.