Identity theft is more important than ever. Because we know the value of personal data, we want to help you safeguard yours with several essential tips.
But first, here’s an overview of well-known types of information that are widely considered to be “personal.” Of course, fraudsters must have several of them if they are to be of any use, but you still should not disclose them:
- Name, address, and date of birth
- Social insurance number
- Passport or driver’s licence number
- Credit card number
- Medical history, criminal record, or financial history
- Ethnic or racial origins
- IP address, if it can be linked to an individual
- DNA, fingerprints, and voiceprints
- Anything that could be an answer to a security question
Keep these in mind as you apply our six short, simple data protection tips.
1. Update... your updates
Updates sometimes fix security vulnerabilities. Ensuring you use the latest versions of your software and applications is a good way to protect yourself.
2. Do not use unsecured Wi-Fi networks
It can be tempting to use unsecured Wi-Fi when we need quick access to the Internet and other options are not readily available. However, few people fail to secure their Wi-Fi networks nowadays. So stay alert: a criminal may be trying to fool you. In general, stay off public networks, but especially when shopping online or using platforms that may record your data.
3. Choose online shopping sites wisely
Speaking of online shopping, don’t be too quick to make purchases and check several things before making a payment.
Finally, if possible, check the website’s settings and activate the option to text a code in order to validate an order.
4. Click before you click
Simply clicking a link in an email can provide an experienced data pirate access to your data. In fact, such links are the main attack vectors used by fraudsters. If an email arrives from an unknown sender, don’t click anything in it.
5. Passwords, again and always
It can’t be repeated often enough: for security’s sake, be creative when you create passwords. As a bonus, you won’t have to change them so often if they’re really good. Here’s another tip: don’t use anything that might reveal additional personal information about you. Examples include: a personal identification number (PIN), your mother’s maiden name, an old address, a family member’s date of birth ... this is not a biography! Instead, think of it as fiction and be inventive.
6. Advantage: antivirus
Unsurprisingly, installing good antivirus software adds extra, indeed essential protection. We suggest you do some research and choose a paid yet affordable antivirus program. Excellent solutions can be had for between $30.00 and $60.00 a year. What’s the difference between free and paid software? The former protects you against malicious software and viruses but the latter also provides tools that protect your identity and data.
Want to learn more about protecting your personal information? Read the other articles in the My Security section of the Advice Zone.