Staying Safe in an Online World
According to the Federal Trade Commission, a new instance of identity theft is reported every 2 seconds. Here are a few reminders on how to stay safe in an online world.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
- Cybercriminals can use your Social Security number to create a new identity. Take a moment and ask how your personal identifiable information will be used before disclosing it.
- Every online account should have its own unique password, so thieves who break into one can’t access them all. Use simple phrases to create longer, more complicated passwords.
- Be thoughtful about what you share on social media. Wait until after vacation to post any pictures, and don’t participate in online quizzes that ask for personal information.
Safeguard Your Documents
- Thieves can use old financial and tax documents to steal your identity. Shred what you no longer need.
- Cybercriminals love old online accounts: They contain personal data but are often less secure. As best you can, delete orphaned accounts you no longer use.
- Check your financial statements frequently and contact your banking institutions if anything looks out of place.
Safeguard Your Electronic Communications
- Don’t use public computers or Wi-Fi to conduct sensitive transactions. Use a VPN or Hotspot instead, and keep your device’s antivirus software and operating system up-to-date.
- Be wary of any email or text urging you to take action by clicking a link. If you think a request is legitimate, go to the sender’s website or app or contact them offline.
- Before recycling or disposing of old computers or smartphones, fully wipe all data.
When it comes to staying safe in today’s world, a little forethought can go a long way. For more about these and other identity protection strategies, reach out to your Baird Financial Advisor.