Identity theft is one of the most nefarious crimes out there.
Here are seven ways to help protect yourself:
1. Secure Your Hard Copies
Every sensitive document should be kept in a safe. Credit cards and debit cards should be securely placed in your wallet at all times.
Bonus Tip: Shred all aged documents that contain sensitive information
2. Examine Your Financial Statements
Review your financial statements monthly and check carefully for fraudulent activity. Report any suspicious charges immediately.
Bonus Tip: Sign up for alerts and limit your credit card activity to a specific geographical area.
3. Choose Strong Passwords
Use different, strong passwords for each of your accounts and devices.
Bonus Tip: Use a secure password service, like Gizmodo, to create and store unique passwords.
4. Protect Your Computer
Invest in a strong anti-spyware program to protect your hardware from hackers.
Bonus Tip: Encrypt your hard drive for an extra level of protection.
5. Be Wary of Suspicious Emails and Websites
Don’t open suspicious-looking emails or click on links for unfamiliar sites.
Bonus Tip: If your inbox is flooded with promotional emails, unsubscribe from some of them. This will help you spot the truly bad apples in all that mail.
6. Use Two-Factor Identification
The extra log-in step will help ward off scammers and add another layer of security to your accounts.
Bonus Tip: Never elect to have a device “remember your password” for a site that involves payments of any kind.
7. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is a great hunting ground for thieves; steer clear if you can. At the very least, avoid all online banking or password logins while using public Wi-Fi.
Bonus Tip: Secure your own home Wi-Fi with a strong password.