Pexels.com photo. CC0 license.
Is anybody safe these days from credit card fraud and identity theft? The recent Equifax credit data breach seems to imply that even the big players are not secure from hackers and thieves.
Don’t panic. While nothing is foolproof any more, there are some strong steps you can take to protect your credit from hucksters and thieves. One of the best is the credit freeze.
Wikipedia tells us that each year about 15% of identity theft cases involve new accounts. Criminals open credit in someone else’s name. Since banks and lenders require a credit report before opening an account, locking this information out with a credit freeze is an effective way to prevent anyone from opening a card in your name. Keep in mind, however, it will also keep you from opening new accounts unless you remove the credit freeze.
Click here to learn more about using a credit freeze to protect yourself from identity theft.
Protect your email password
Your email account is your key to the digital kingdom. Keep it secret; keep it safe!
When choosing an email password, go for something unique and impossible to guess. Never use your birthday or something people know about you. For example, if you drive a Rav4, don’t make your password Rav4. Also, given the number of data breaches, assume that any information held by the government such as your social security number and date of birth are out there in the criminal undergrond.
Choose a password that is not easy to guess. It must not not contain any personal information (social security number, phone number, street number, etc.) that could be gleaned from a credit report or information you've given to the government. Your password could be a nonsensical sentence. For example, Chickens4love2run!
If thinking up obscure passwords and organizing them becomes too much of a chore, Asheville Digital Lifestyle can help you setup a password management system such as Dashlane or 1Password.
Jensen Gelfond is the Founder of Asheville Digital Lifestyle. He helps people use their technology more effectively and joyfully.