Identity theft is a growing problem in the United State and a serious concern in this office. While you can’t prevent big, corporate security breaches, small changes to your daily routine will help better protect your identity from hacks, scams, theft, and phishing schemes.

#1: your Social Security Number

Whether you carry a wallet or purse, almost everyone has their driver’s license with them at all times. You need it to buy cigarettes, to get into bars, and to prove you are who you say you are.  But, when a thief can combine the information on your driver’s license with your Social Security Number to compromise your identity. Try not to keep forms or cards, including your Social Security and Medicare cards, that have your SSN in your wallet or purse.

#2: Public Internet Connections

Getting work done or quickly checking your bank account has never been easier. Public internet is everywhere and connecting to it can be automatic. Cyber thieves can take advantage of the public internet trend with fake Wi-Fi connections and man-in-the-middle attacks. Only use secure internet connections to transmit sensitive information like account passwords and financial details.

#3: Malicious Emails

Emails seem harmless. But, the links or attachments may cause trouble. Cyber thieves will send emails with malicious attachments or links to malicious websites. These attachments and websites will install malware on your computer, allowing them to steal your information. Trust your gut; if you don’t know the sender or an email seems fishy, delete it.

#4: Sensitive Information

Sensitive information includes anything that can be used to steal your identity or that can get a thief closer to stealing your identity. That includes the obvious like your birth date and Social Security Number, but it also includes your financial account usernames and passwords. Be careful not to send documents with sensitive information that can be intercepted. Always assume that your emails and texts can be read by others.

#5: Passwords

Nowadays, everything needs a password. There are passwords for your  smartphone, computer, Wi-Fi, social media, email, and bank accounts. With so many passwords, it’s easier to just remember a single password. Cyber thieves rely on you getting lazy. When they hack nonsensical targets, they’re looking for your password and hoping you reuse it somewhere else. If one account gets compromised then all your accounts get compromised. Use a different password for every account.

When you finally create a good password with all the bells, whistles, and special characters, don’t share it. Whoever you share your password with may not be as security conscious as you are. Like they said in WWII, loose lips sink ships.

Check out these password tips.

What I’m Doing to Help

After reading all that, you may be rightfully concerned. You don’t want your identity stolen and I don’t want your identity stolen either. I will never share your sensitive information with anyone and I will only send you sensitive documents with password protection or through the Secure Client Portal.

If you have any security concerns or would like to pick a password for your files, let me know.