Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Last year alone, 12.6 million people – or 1 out of every 20 consumers – were victims of identity fraud. Keeping your information safe is vital in our technology driven society, and there are certain steps that you can take to help keep your identity, and your money, safe.
Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.
Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
Following these tips will give you more security in knowing that your information is safe and secure. Be safe and take care of your personal information.