When my identity was stolen, I filed a police report.

The officer taking my report informed me that it’s no longer a matter of “if” a person’s identity will be stolen but “when” it will happen.

That incident happened over a decade ago.

With the growth of online shopping and technological advances, it’s become easier for one’s identity to be stolen.

For your peace of mind, take the necessary precautions to protect your identity.

In an IRS tax tip email, they suggest you “treat your personal information like cash – don’t hand it out to just anyone.”

That statement says it all.

We know to verify a website’s URL is legitimate and secure before inputting personal information.

But how many times do you really check when you buy something online or click on a link?

We know not to overshare on social media.

We hear the stories of break-ins happening when homeowners are on vacation.

But how often do you continue to post personal information that could make you a target?

We know to make passwords unique.

Use different passwords for each account; change them regularly, and don’t share them.

But with so many online accounts, how often have you used the same password?

We know to check our financial statements monthly for fraudulent charges.

In this way, we can identify fraud and work to dispute it.

But how often have you waited too long to review your financial statements?

We know to review our credit report annually.

It’s a way to identify fraudulent accounts opened under your name.

But how many times have you requested your credit report?

You know what you need to do to protect your personal information.

But are you implementing it?

Here are some easy suggestions to follow.

Make it a habit to check a website’s URL before inputting personal information or clicking on a link.

Think twice before posting about your new expensive purchase or going on vacation.

Use password managers to store your passwords.

Enable two-step verification for websites that offer this additional security.

Scroll through your monthly financial transactions instead of scrolling through your social media.

Request your credit report when you’re gathering documents to file your taxes. 

While technology is making it easier to steal your identity, there are advances available to deter this incident from happening.

It’s up to you to take advantage of the new advances and use common sense before sharing your personal information online.

(Update to original post from June 29, 2018)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”