How to Protect Your Identity in the 21st Century Cyber WarsSubmitted by WWK Wealth Advisors on March 13th, 2013
- Protect your Social Security number. Treat it like confidential information.
- Be skeptical toward unfamiliar e-mails, especially those that have links for you to click on. This is the “trojan horse” criminals use to gain access to your information. Especially watch out for e-mails that have bank or credit card logos. Most financial companies will never contact you electronically and ask for personal information.
- SHRED SHRED SHRED. I have a shredder and will admit that I’m not as diligent as I should be. Be better than me. Shred your mail or anything with personal information on it.
- Create strong passwords. This can be a pain I know. If you are online, you probably try to use one password or a close variant to it for most of your sites. Don’t. It is an invitation to an attack. See: How to create a strong password. To keep track of your passwords there are resources such as eWallet that will allow you to record the sites you use and will even generate complex passwords for you.
- Shop safe online. Here are some tips.
- Don’t save your logins on your computer. When you logon to a website, most PCs will ask you whether you want to have the logon information saved. Doing this will automatically log you in when you return. That’s convenient. But it will also leave you vulnerable to having them stolen if your computer is hacked.Take the extra step to login and out of site.
- Review your credit report annually. You are able to receive it free once a year (click here) Our firm, recently added this to the little conversations we have with clients. Your credit report is a good tool see what has been reported on your creditworthiness and who has accessed your information. It is important that it is accurate. Many employers now run credit checks. Anytime you apply for a loan your credit report will help determine whether you are approved and what interest rate you are charged. Better to make sure that it is accurate then find out about a problem after the fact and have to scramble to get it fixed.
Now the all important call to action. These simple steps are worthless if you don’t do them. So do them. Take an hour on the next lazy day and arm yourself against cyber criminals. It won’t be the most fun you’ve had but you’ll be proud that you’ve taken a big step in he battle against cyber crime.