Protecting Your Digital Identity: 5 Ways to Protect Your Identity
In today’s digital world, it’s important to protect your digital identity, since we often spend many hours on the Internet via our smartphones, devices, workstations, etc. Cyber thieves knowingly steal your information for criminal and financial gains. How would you react if someone accessed your login credentials to your banking account, health records and ultimately steal your identity? I’m sure we would all take action to protect ourselves from identity theft.
In fact, a recent Javelin Strategy & Research report found that in 2016 there were over 15.4 million consumers that were victims of identity theft or fraud, which resulted in consumers losing over 16 billion dollars. The report find that many of the thieves used stolen login information to access consumer accounts and some opened new accounts in consumers’ names.
When on the Internet, we need to be more cautious and be sure to follow the below guidelines to protect our identity and personal information:
- Check your credit report - Check your credit report annually. This will give you an opportunity to see if there are any discrepancies/fraudulent accounts that were opened under your name and if so, take action by contacting the credit bureau.
- Enroll in credit monitoring if you think you’ve been breached - If retailers have been breached, they usually offer for one year of free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring will run your credit report, look for new accounts opened, change of address, etc.
- Use two-factor authentication - In addition to entering a password, having two-factor authentication helps by using a second form of ID verification to authenticate that user is in fact the authorized users. Most mobile carriers actually require two-factor authentication to protect their customers.
- Keep your software updated - Keeping your software updated may seem tedious at times, but downloading the latest software version will insure that you have the latest security patches in place.
- Be cautious of public Wi-Fi – Yes, connecting to public Wi-Fi can save on data usage, but we run the risk of cyber criminals seeing our online activities and personal information. As mentioned in my previous post, best practice is to use a service with remote VPN or if you do not have one simply use your data plan. It’s better to be cautious.
We know it’s hard to completely protect yourself online, but try to follow the above security measures to at least do your part to deter cyber criminals as much as possible.