We are living in a changing world and with articles about famous peoples credit reports being hacked, It is possible that more of us have the chance of being hacked or identity stolen in the future. With that in mind, I think it is timely to talk about what steps we as consumers can take to protect ourselves and our identity.
Secure your portable devices I’m guessing if you are reading this you are tech savvy enough that you have a smart phone that can access the internet, and could possibly have personal information on the phone. Do you have the phone locked so you have to enter a password or screen swipe to access the phone? Does it have a limit of number of tries you can attempt before the memory is wiped?
Mail- look at all the mail you throw away, now think of someone dumpster diving and seeing that you and your spouse bank at a certain bank, and then find out the name of your children and other personal information. It might seem begin to you, but to a criminal they look at all the pieces of information and call your financial institution and go phishing and try to get your account information to open accounts in your name, or attempt to take the money you have in your accounts. Are you shredding any piece of mail that your name is on, and places that you affiliate yourself with.
Social Networks be careful what you put online, a good rule of thumb is to only post things that you would be comfortable seeing on the front page of the newspaper on your homepage. If you wouldn’t want to see something that you post on the front page of the newspaper, such as your address, phone number, email address, and other personal information. It is amazingly easy for a criminal to get a lot of personal information about you just by what you post to your homepage.
Phishing and Social engineering more and more the attacks that are being reported are directed attacks where people are scoping a suspect and then calling with a little bit of information about you to disarm you and then the suspect is giving their information freely to the criminal on the other end of the email or phone call. Whenever anyone asks you for personal information, always feel free to ask why? Many times the victim unwittingly gives out the information to the criminal and is immediately in a compromised situation.
This by no means is an all-encompassing list of the scams and the how to protect your information, some good links on the topic are: