It’s officially 2019! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. The start of the year is a great time to reflect on all the blessings of 2018 and start preparing ourselves for the new year.
So while we are trying to be our best self, unfortunately identity thieves are also trying to live our best life. This is especially prevalent around the new year and during tax season.
We want you to stay protected this year. Please check out the tips below to ensure you are protecting your identity in 2019.
9 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
1. Protect your social security number.
Make sure your social security card is stored in a safe location. Do not leave in your wallet or purse. Also, if your social security number is listed on your driver’s license, health insurance card, checkbook, etc. request to have it reissued.
2. Use secure passwords.
• Choose a password that no one will easily guess or hack. Don’t use a word or phrase of special importance to you—like a birthday or family member. That’s the kind of information that can be discovered by someone doing a little digging.
• Do not share passwords. This is an open invitation to your online accounts, and it’s often exploited to accomplish online identity theft.
• Make sure your password is long. It should be at least 8-to-10 characters long, and longer passwords are even more secure. Some sites or applications may limit the password length, however.
• Use at least one capital letter and one lowercase letter in your password. The capital and lowercase letters should not be grouped together. Mixing them up makes the password more difficult to predict.
3. Remove credit cards you're not using from your wallet.
Make sure to remove or cancel any cards you’re not using.
4. Get a free credit report
You are allowed one free report each year from the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. That means you can request one report every four months. That way you can stay up to date on your credit score year-round.
5. Don't give out personal information
Be careful of unsecured websites. A web page containing “https” in the address or a padlock symbol next to the address field is a secure site, meaning that the information you provide will be encrypted or scrambled, protecting it from hackers.
6. Shred documents with sensitive information
Invest in a cross-cut shredder that leaves no trace of the once-whole document.
7. Use firewall, virus and spyware protection
Update it regularly to keep your computer safe from “uninvited guests.”
8. Review bills and credit card statements
Make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. If you notice a discrepancy, contact your provider immediately.