Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog
8 Tips to Protect Your Identity
You can never be too careful about identity theft. The numbers don’t lie; according to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 15 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017. Those numbers are likely to rise in 2018. Data from Javelin Strategy & Research shows a steady annual increase in identity theft victims since 2012. Here are several tips to help you protect your identity:
Tip 1: Review Bills and Credit Card Statements
Identity theft catches you off guard. Review your bills and credit card statements every month for unauthorized charges.
Tip 2: Obtain a Free Credit Report
You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Scrutinize your credit report for suspicious or incorrect information.
Tip 3: Shred Unwanted Documents
Not all identity theft is hi-tech. Criminals still use tried-and-true old-fashioned low-tech ways to steal personal information, and sifting through your trash is one of them. Invest in a mobile shredding or drop off shredding service.
Tip 4: Lock Down Your WiFi Network
A weak, unprotected WiFi network is a gateway for hackers. Safeguard yours with a strong password and don’t name it after your street address. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for secure remote access to your network.
Tip 5: Store Offsite
Storing documents in your home or office isn’t as secure as you think. Your personal information is still vulnerable to cleaning and maintenance crews and dishonest employees. Store your file offsite at a records center where they are professionally protected and managed.
Tip 6: Update Your Computer
It’s easy to put off updating your computer or laptop, but doing so puts your data at risk. Routine software patches and security updates are critical for keeping your device and network secure. Don’t ignore them.
Tip 7: Don’t Disclose Personal Information over the Phone
Phone scams and identity theft go hand in hand. A phone call with a plea to donate to a charitable fundraiser or some other cause may seem legitimate, but don’t take the bait. Most charities will send donation requests by postal mail.
Tip 8: Avoid Over Sharing on Social Media
Speaking of volunteering information, be careful about publicizing personal, financial and medical data on social media. Identity theft criminals scour sites like Facebook and Twitter looking for easy access to loosely-posted information. Treat your social media account as if it were your bank account: with the utmost privacy.
If you become a victim of identity theft, contact your financial institution immediately and file a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
The Data Vault provides shredding solutions for businesses in Kentucky and southern Indiana. If you have a shredding question we haven’t answered here, please call us at 502-244-1151 or complete the form on this page. Your questions are important to us!