At a time where digital communication in some ways feels like the epicenter of our lives, the risk of identity theft often feels like it is growing exponentially with each new online account or platform.
We all know that there are ways to mitigate that risk – but we often neglect to take those preventative measures. Our team at McCabe and Mack LLP wants to remind you of some steps that you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Invest in a fire-proof, water-resistant safe for your important documents. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, passports, financial statements, and lists of usernames and passwords should remain locked in a safe when not in use.
- Destroy documents – both hard copies and digital formats – when you no longer need them. Whether you are getting rid of old tax returns or bank statements or you have upgraded a laptop and need to clear the old one of all confidential information, take the time to discard responsibly. Paper should be shredded and hard drives should be erased (don’t forget to back up files on a flash drive if you might still need them, however!)
- When it comes to passwords, variety can make the difference. While it is tempting to use the same credentials for everything, we all know the dangers of that. Be sure to vary your passwords and store them in your locked safe so that you can access as needed.
- Check your credit report and bank statements for unauthorized purchases. You can order your credit report at no charge by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. And your bank statements contain valuable information as well; examine them frequently and closely for any suspicious activity.
- Be cautious about information sharing. Many cyberattacks occur when victims readily share personal information by phone or click links in a phishing email. Be certain you are speaking with an authorized person before you answer questions or offer details that could be used to steal your identity.
- Do not use personal identifying information in your email address. For example, do not use your own birthdate as you would be giving that information to hackers, scammers and the like.
If you are a victim of identity theft, remember that you have rights.
Reach out to our team at McCabe and Mack LLP by calling 845.486.6800 if you have any questions.