Your Complete Guide to Identity Theft Protection
Did you know there were 14.4 million victims of identity theft in 2018? According to Javelin Strategy, each case cost the victim an average of $1,050, and that’s only the dollar cost. When an individual’s identity is stolen, the thief also impacts the victim’s financial health, recovery from which can take years.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent becoming the next victim. Here’s your complete guide to identity theft protection.
1. Monitor your credit
Check your credit score for free on sites like CreditKarma.com and get a free annual report from each of the credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for sudden hits to your score and suspicious activity on your report and credit card bills.
2. Use multi-factor authentication
When banking online or using any other service utilizing sensitive information, always choose multi-factor authentication for extra protection.
3. Use strong, unique passwords
Never use identical passwords across multiple accounts. Instead, create strong, unique passwords for every login you use.
4. Only use Wi-Fi with a VPN
When using public Wi-Fi, always choose a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead of your default Wi-Fi settings to keep the device’s sensitive information secure.
5. Block robocalls
Lower the number of robocalls — and the potential scams — that reach your home by adding your number to the Federal Trade Commission’s No Call List at donotcall.gov.
6. Upgrade your devices
By upgrading the operating systems for your computer, tablet and phone, you’ll be protected from the most recent security breaches, viruses and hacks.
7. Shred old documents
Some criminals search through trashed papers to get information. That’s why it’s best to shred all documents containing sensitive information as soon as you don’t need them.
8. Keep personal information personal
Be super-cautious about sharing sensitive data with strangers — and even with friends. It’s also a good idea to use the strongest privacy and security settings on your social media accounts.
9. Invest in identity theft protection
Services like LifeLock will monitor your personal information online and immediately alert you about any suspicious activity.
Be proactive about protecting your identity and keep your information and your money safe.
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