We’ve done some research and put together a list of tips for protecting your online identity. You may surprise yourself and find that you’re doing things that put your identity at risk.
As our digital presence grows, so does our likelihood of having a compromised identity. Identity theft is extremely costly, probably more so than you can imagine. Here are some cyber safety and tips for protecting your identity that you can start using today!
15 Tips for Protecting your Online Identity:
- Be aware and alert while out and about. A busy store is a breeding ground for pickpockets and thieves, so hold your wallet tightly and pay attention to the behaviors of those around you.
- Only go to ATMs that are affiliated with a respected bank. There is simply no way to know how your personal information is being handled inside of the ATM, therefore choose one associated with a familiar bank for legitimacy.
- Always get your receipt and watch carefully to make sure your card is only swiped once. Yes, we know it can be annoying to have all of the little pieces of paper floating around. But, if something fishy were to show up on your bank statement, that receipt might be your only proof!
- This is a big one: DO NOT USE public Wi-Fi connections while making online purchases or checking your bank account. Hackers love to sneak on to your device to get access to your information without you ever being aware it’s happening. Also, make sure you close out of any apps on your phone that have any financial or personal data as soon as you’re finished using them.
- Be careful while online shopping and do not make purchases from companies that are not well known. For example, if an item that’s usually $100 is only $20 on an obscure website you’ve never heard of before, that should be a red flag to you that it’s probably a scam. An easy way to see if a website is secure is to check for “https” (not just “http”) in front of the URL.
- Use a shredder to shred any mail or documents that have identifying information on them. Identity theft commonly occurs from documents found dumpster diving. This is a higher risk during the holidays when a lot of year-end statements are being sent out.
- Be cautious of suspicious phone calls where your personal information is requested. Ask identifying questions of charities or banks requesting financial information over the phone.
- Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary. Store personal information in a safe place.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
- Enable the security features on mobile devices, especially if you have contacts, banking websites and applications saved.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Choose ‘Forget Me’ Instead of ‘Remember Me’ for your passwords. Don’t check that box that invites you to enable an automatic login the next time you visit! When convenience trumps confidentiality, you’re asking for trouble. The harder you make it for hackers to follow your trail into an online store or bank account, the better. Go a step further and create complex passwords that thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases.
- Review your credit report once a year to be certain that it doesn’t include accounts that you have not opened.
- Destroy old computers before dumping them. Erasing data doesn’t actually eliminate the original bits and bytes. Physically remove the hard-drive to ensure you’re not tossing out or passing along your personal details.
- Be mysterious on social networks. What you share on social networks (your home or email address; children’s names; birth date and so on) is what tech-savvy thieves use for scams, phishing, and account theft. Don’t over share and give them too many details about your life!
Talk to an agent.
We have producers that can help you find the best identity theft protection for your needs. At Henry Insurance, we’re ready to find you the best policies to fit your needs.Talk to an agent at Henry Insurance Services today at (225) 927-0451 or by contacting us online.