Some people love taking what doesn’t belong to them. During the holidays this year, be extra careful to make sure that you’re keeping your finances safe from shady individuals. Here are four tips for protecting your identity during this holiday season…
Keep an eye on your credit report: If checking your credit report isn’t something you do regularly, you should change that. If a thief opens up an account in your name, this will be an easy red flag to detect. Although it used to be a hassle, there are a few sites that provide free credit reports these days. If you need a suggestion, check out Credit Karma.
Don’t toss it, shred it: When you take your trash to the curb every week, make sure you’re not throwing anything away that a fraudster could find valuable. Anything that contains account numbers, banking information, or social security numbers would be highly desirable to a thief. Make sure anything you’re not sure of gets put in the shredder before the trash can.
Be cautious online: Cybercriminals can get your information a few ways, one of which is phishing. Phishing is when a cybercriminal defrauds you of sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company that you trust. Don’t click a link in an email that’s asking you for personal information. Anything that looks fishy should be verified with the company first. Also, make sure you’re not doing sensitive things like logging into your bank website from a coffee shop’s unsecured Wi-Fi.
Update your passwords: Password is not a password. Baseball123 isn’t either. It’s time to make better passwords. Think of a phrase or question like, “Can Lebron win a championship in LA in the next 3 years?” Then use the initials, symbols, and numbers to create your password. That would look like this: “CLwaciLAitn3y?” No one can guess that one. According to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take a computer about 415 million years to crack that password.