Daily activities we take part in online, like shopping, banking and connecting with family, sometimes require personally identifiable information such as your name, date of birth, passwords and location information. We have some tips to help you protect that information – and yourself – against fraud.
First and foremost, remember to always stop, think twice and #BeCyberSmart when sharing personal information online. As simple as this may sound, it’s a mindset that’s key to reducing the risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
Crash course: Did you know that 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach within the last five years? Because of this, over 52% say they’ve decided not to use a product or service due to worries surrounding their information security.
There’s no need to live in fear when it comes to your personal information! Check out these helpful best practices to avoid fraud and enhance your security:
Use the longest password or passphrase permissible, and use a mix of numbers, letters and special characters. The idea is to make your passwords hard to deduce, as well as to not use the same password for multiple sites. This can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your accounts, as well as protect you in the event of a breach.
Some smartphones can suggest complex passwords and store them in your locked device to reference. These suggested passwords are a good idea if you’re having a hard time coming up with something unique!
Limit what personal information you post on social media. Many people don’t realize that seemingly random and minor details about themselves are all that criminals need to target them – both online and in the real world.
Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday and even vacation plans. If you post that you’re currently on vacation, it’s easy to make your home a marked location for criminals who now know that you’re away. And on that note, wait to post photos of your trip until after you’ve returned home.
Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – and where you aren’t – at any given time.
Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – such as at an airport, hotel or café – think twice about whether or not the network is legitimate and secure. (More often than not, public Wi-Fi isn’t.) If you do use an unsecured public access point, avoid sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords, credit cards, etc.
Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking. The “s” stands for “secure” in this instance, often signifying that that site has implemented robust safety protocols for online security.
When you’re done with such things as online banking, buying your laundry detergent or arranging dinner delivery, it’s always a good idea to sign out and completely close the window you were in. This helps prevent anyone from piggybacking on your account to purchase additional items or engage in other malicious activities.
It’s important to understand which websites have been safe for you in the past. Continue to vet them each time you use them! Is the URL the same? Does the order process look similar to last time? Is the phone number local? (Or even within the U.S.?) Sometimes fraudsters and criminals make duplicate websites that mirror legitimate websites almost perfectly. It’s important to ensure you’re sharing personal information (including account information) with the right sites to prevent fraud on your accounts.
Learn more about how you can avoid fraud while continuing to protect your information and yourself. Also, we can help you know what to do in the event you do experience fraudulent activity on your account. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered!