Identity theft is the largest white collar crime in the history of the United States. Approximately 15 million United States’ residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.
On a case-by-case basis, that means approximately 7% of all adults have their identities misused with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses.
But there are some things that you can do to protect your personally identifiable information. Visit the IT Security website for tips on keeping your identity safe.
Has this ever happened to you?
Someone figured out (broke) the password to your personal email account, and was then able to access your Facebook and online banking accounts. This criminal was able to post to your Facebook wall, transfer money from your checking account, and send phishing emails to your family and friends all because you used this ONE password for all these accounts.
To be more secure online (and avoid this scenario), use multiple accounts for separate purposes. This helps you easily distinguish what type of business is being conducted in each particular account. You can use one account for communicating with friends and relatives, one for all online and offline financial transactions, one for all notifications and newsletters, and one for spam. It is up to you how many accounts to use and for what purpose(s) to use them. In addition, keep your work and/or student account(s) separate from the rest of these accounts.
Hackers may try to figure out your passwords to gain access to your personal and/or work-related information. Incorporate these tactics in order to make it harder for them to break your passwords:
- Keep passwords in a secure place and do not share them on the Internet, over e-mail, or on the phone.
- Use passwords that have at least eight characters in length and include numbers or symbols. The longer the password, the tougher it is to break.
- Don’t use your personal information, especially information shared on a social networking site like Facebook, or your login name as a password.
- Change your passwords on a regular basis. A best practice is every 90 days.
- Don’t use the same password for each online account you access.
Did You Know? 1 in 3 workers write down their computer password and leave it where others can see it, undermining their security.