Thursday, August 13, 2015

Identity Fraud Protection: Recognizing Everyday Risks

Everyone wants to take identity fraud protection seriously, but you may not realize that some of your everyday behaviors are putting you at risk.  Here are tips on identifying and avoiding these risks.

Don’t conduct business in your local coffee shop or other public place.  Free wi-fi can seem convenient and be tempting, but using it can put you at risk.  You don’t know who else is using that connection and they may be snooping on data that you are sending and receiving.  To protect from Identity fraud, never make purchases or log into online banking on a wi-fi connection that is not secure, and even logging into email or social media can be risky.

Choosing convenient passwords over secure ones puts you at risk.    If you spend any amount of time online, you are probably registered at so many different sites that passwords can start to seem like just a nuisance.  They are actually there for your protection, and yours should be long, random, and include letters, numbers, and symbols.  Protect from identity theft by avoiding obvious ones like birthdays, pet names, and the ever-popular “password.”  Use a different password for every site.  If you do not, it just takes one site being compromised for all your accounts to be compromised.  Consider single sign-on software to help keep your passwords secure.  This software creates and stores your passwords for you, so you only have to enter one master password and it plugs in the rest for you.  Because you don’t have to remember every password, they can all be different and complex, making them difficult to crack.

Don’t store your financial information in too many different places.  This goes for paper documents, as well as electronic information.  Some retailers allow you to store your payment information so you can make additional purchases with just one click.  Like using the same password over and over again, this can seem like the most convenient way, but it can put you at risk.  Leaving papers containing personal information laying around your house or not shredding documents that you throw away can also put you at risk.

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