Identity theft can happen to anyone. In the past, you might not have worried about it unless you lost your wallet. Today, however, with our globally connected world, your personal information could be stolen in myriad ways from online accounts or brick-and-mortar stores.
Do you want to wait until an organization discovers the theft, determines the extent, then contacts the victims? Or do you want to be proactive and protect your identity through prevention? Here are 8 steps you can take to do just that:
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Use a VPN for browsing on any unsecured public networks to protect sensitive information and transactions.
- Enable two-factor authentication. Many online sites store your credit card and billing information. Make sure to set up two-factor authentication and use a strong password or passphrase.
- Use a password manager. It may feel daunting to manage unique strong passwords and keep them regularly updated. Sign up with a reliable password manager service that takes care of that for you.
- Be smart on social media. Review your security settings; don’t accept friend requests from people or accounts you don’t know, and avoid clicking on links if you’re not sure where they might take you.
- Enroll in account alerts. Check with all of your financial service providers and sign up to receive notifications such as emails and texts if suspicious activity is flagged.
- Sign up for identity protection services. With how connected our society is now, think of this as a must-have just like auto, home and life insurance.
- Set up credit monitoring so you are notified if any suspicious activity shows up on your credit report. You can also monitor your credit reports for free each year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Place a credit freeze on your credit. This blocks anyone (yourself included) from opening new accounts in your name.