Our lives and personal information are increasingly online. And though going digital saves time and trees, it can be risky. In fact, roughly 1 in 14 Americans become a victim of identity theft every year.
But there are steps you can take to make you less likely to be one of those unlucky 1 in 14. In this post, we’re going to go over 10 tips to protect your identity both online and off.
Use HTTPS sites whenever possible
HTTPS sites offer you better protection, because any information you enter on them—like contact information, passwords, or credit card details—will be encrypted.
Do not keep a password document
Many people have a document on their computers called “passwords.” This is dangerous, as it is easily accessible. A better, more secure solution is to use a web-based password management tool such as LastPass or 1Password.
Protect your home computers
Simple, free software like antivirus and a firewall can ensure that your computers — and personal information — aren’t compromised by hackers.
Get annual credit report
It never hurts to check up on your credit report once a year to make sure it doesn’t include suspicious accounts. It’s usually free, too!
Guard your personal information
If you get unsolicited requests for personal information, or a random email asking you to click on a link, be on guard. Make sure you verify the identity of the person or company requesting it. It could be a scam.
Monitor account activity daily
Be vigilant about checking your checking, savings and other financial accounts daily to catch fraud before it costs you.
Protect your Social Security Number
Keep your card and any documents with your social security number on them in a safe place. Don’t carry them on your person, unless you have to.
Use a strong password on your mobile devices
These days there are great apps to access your financial information and tax information on your mobile phone. Protect your mobile devices with a strong password.
Beware of phishing scams
Phishing emails try and trick you into giving out your credit card, passwords, or social security number. Remember that trustworthy companies would ask you to log into your account before sending *any *personal information.
Shred your documents
Identity thieves can find sensitive information in documents you throw away, such as bank statements and bills. You can protect yourself by shredding all your sensitive documents before dumping them in the trash.