By now we all know the importance of complex, unique passwords for online accounts. The use of a password manager, such as LastPass, to generate complex and secure passwords for online accounts should be high priority. Another tool used to defend your identity that is becoming more common (and easy to use) is the virtual private network or VPN. In short, a VPN creates an encrypted private connection through the internet to help keep your data and transactions confidential.
Some identity thieves try to find a way around these safeguards by using email or text messages to trick consumers into providing private information, a practice called phishing. These scams are getting more and more sophisticated, so the Federal Trade Commission is providing ways to educate and protect yourself from phishing.
Since unauthorized credit card use and the opening of new credit accounts are two of the most common types of identity theft, it’s important to have a way to monitor your credit for questionable activity. Annualcreditreport.com is a site created by credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to help you do just that. It allows you to receive a free credit report every 12 months from each of the participating three agencies. Rotating these agencies can get you a fresh report every four months to check new credit inquiries and accounts, detect changes or suspicious behavior, and ensure that all of your credit information is correct and up to date.
The internet isn’t going anywhere, so this problem isn’t either, but thankfully the government has provided numerous identity theft resources to help keep you from becoming a victim, and to take some of the sting out of it if you do.
At Cobblestone, not only do we have practices in place to keep client information safe and secure, but we also work with our clients to educate them about identity theft and how to prevent it.
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