The theft of your personally identifiable information (PII) may happen as part of a data breach of one of the retail or other company databases which store your PII. Data thieves have been hacking into large databases of customer PII such as eBay, Amazon, MasterCard, and VISA because they are able to acquire the PII of more consumers with fewer hacks. See Target: eBay, Amazon, & Credit Card Processors for more background.
Do you know how to protect yourself in the event your data is breached on one of these databases? Net-Security.org recently published tips by Identity Guard, an Internet and computer security company. They are listed below.
Identity Guard has put together some identity theft protection tips for consumers that may have been the target of a recent data breach:
Change your passwords. If you use the same password across multiple websites, immediately reset your password at each of those sites. Keeping in mind that each account should have its own unique password, made up of numbers, letters and symbols. Never use publicly available information as part of your password. And the longer a password is, the harder it is to guess.
Don’t click on email links. Criminals will use phishing attempts to try to get you to disclose more personal information to help them further their attempts at committing potential identity fraud. Never open an email from an unknown sender and avoid downloading file attachments and clicking on embedded links.
Verify a website is safe. It’s always best to type out a website address instead of clicking on a link from an email, no matter how legitimate the email may look. Before submitting any personal information, be sure the webpage address begins with ‘https’ and look for the closed padlock symbol either in the address bar or in the bottom of the screen which indicates a secure connection.
Monitor your financial statements. Even if your financial information was not part of the breach, be sure you monitor all of your financial documents for any suspicious activity and report it immediately as identity thieves could gain access to this information through other methods.
Enroll in an identity monitoring service. Monitoring all areas for potential identity exposure can be both timely and overwhelming.
These are all good tips that have been mentioned on this blog in the past. But they are worthless if you don’t implement them. Identity theft is serious business and it’s toll on a victim is very harsh and lasts for years. Do yourself a favor and implement them…start today.
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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Social Security Card — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis