You know about the importance of shredding documents and being cautious about giving information over the phone or email. Here are some other tips in this current time to further help you protect your identity:
Use Strong Passwords and Strong "Challenge Question" Answers
ID Thieves who can publicly see your social network activity may be able to discover information about your life (e.g. – family members, places you have lived, pet names you mention, types of cars you may post about, etc) and use that to determine answers to “challenge” questions on your accounts. Use passwords and answers on challenge questions that cannot be guessed by observing general information about your life on social media.
Password Protect Your Mobile Phone & Apps
Go to your mobile phone settings and set your passcode lock screen. You can also use a trusted app that will allow you to password protect specific apps on your phone such as your email, social media accounts and even your contacts list. Doing either or both of these options can help prevent someone who has stolen your mobile phone from accessing your personal information.
Lock Your Computer or Laptop
Set up the login feature on your computer or laptop and log off when away from your computer. Should your device be stolen, this feature will make it more difficult for a thief to get to your personal information.
Be Cautious on Wi-Fi
If you are on a public wireless network your activities are vulnerable to ID thieves, so be cautious with what information you share. Regarding Wi-Fi at your home, be sure to password protect your network with a strong password so outsiders can’t login to your network.
Safely Dispose of Electronic Devices
When disposing of a computer or mobile device, be sure to use a wipe utility program to overwrite and delete information. Additionally, you may even want to consider removing and destroying the hard drive of your computer. For your mobile device, remove the SIM card after wiping out your information.
Review Your Credit Report Annually
A free credit report can be requested every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax). Look for anything that might be out of the ordinary. If you discover an issue you can contact the credit reporting company to determine how to dispute the issue.