Is Your Personal Information At Risk? Identity theft protection might seem like a hassle, but remembering these simple tips can save you from a worst case scenario.
With the advancement in technology, how we process and send information has never been easier. Our daily tasks now involve handheld devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and even wearable technology, so much so that pieces of our identities are scattered across the ether.
Despite the many pros that come with the ease of a digital lifestyle, identity theft protection is still a major concern. Do you give it a second thought when you engage in a transaction online, or dole out personal information? Do you worry about data breaches, or stolen identities?
While merchants, banks, and other services offer security encryption, awareness and prevention on the part of the consumer is essential for risk mitigation.
Is your personal information at risk? Here are some identity theft protection steps you can take to safeguard your identity online –
Employ the use of anti-virus and anti-malware applications
Make sure your computer has anti-virus and anti-malware protection software installed. This protects you against malicious software (also known as ‘malware’) and computer viruses. Make sure your software is setup to scan all email attachments as well, as many viruses can be hiding as a Trojan Horse.
Don’t respond to suspicious emails!
Criminals are known to distribute fake emails to random email addresses, hoping a vulnerable person will fall for their schemes. These emails are called ‘phishing’ emails, and it’s one of many ways criminals try to trick customers into giving personal information, such as account numbers and passwords. If something seems suspicious, it probably is. Remember, banks and other institutions will never ask for your password or account information via email. If you’re unsure, check with the parties in question to see if an email is legitimate or not.
Be careful what you share on social sites
Social networks are great tools for keeping in touch, promoting a business, or looking for employment. While it’s great to share a photo, resume, or a memory, keep information like your social security number, date of birth, phone number, and address to yourself. Criminals can collect this information and use it to open accounts in your name.
Verify the security of businesses you deal with online
Do your preferred merchants use SSL technology? How is your information being used? Always check before you conduct online transactions to know how well your information is protected and how long it is being used for. Check terms of services and speak with customer service when applicable.
Always log off
Always log off from your online session when you’re done with transactions or browsing. This will help prevent anyone else from accessing your information.
Rely on strong passwords and PINs to secure your information digitally. Do not share this information with anyone unless it is a trusted source, like a family member.
If you’re the paperless type that keeps sensitive information on your hard drive but are ready to move onto a new machine, remember, don’t toss your hard drive in the trash!
Legal Shred offers hard drive destruction services through the use of our shredders; this method works similarly to how we shred paper, except it is the hard drive that is being shredded into unusable pieces. Data is impossible to retrieve once it has been pulverized. Hard drive shredding is the only true way to achieve peace of mind when disposing of an old computer.
For more information on identity theft protection, hard drive destruction and other routine services, visit our services page.