My identity was stolen. I was completing paperwork for the police report and still baffled by the occurrence. 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 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 to “treat your personal information like cash – don’t hand it out to just anyone.” That statement says it all.
We all know to check if a website is encrypted before inputting personal information. We look for the “https” in the web link. But how many times do you really check when you’re buying something online?
We all know not to overshare on social media. We hear the stories of break-ins happening when homeowners are on vacation. We’ve even watched as Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress on how Facebook uses personal information. But how many times do you continue to post personal information that can make you a target?
We all know what to do with passwords – make them unique, use different passwords for each account, change them regularly, and don’t share them. But with so many online accounts how many times are you using the same password?
We all know to check our financial statements monthly for fraudulent charges. If a transaction is in question, we can easily look it up to figure out if we forgot about it or if it is fraudulent. But how many times have you waited too long to review your financial statements?
We all know to review our credit report annually. It’s a great way to see if accounts were opened in your name without your knowledge. But how many times have you requested your credit report?
You know what you need to do to protect your personal information. Now, here’s the hard part … implementing it. Here are some easy suggestions to follow:
Make it a habit to check for the “https” before inputting personal information online.
Think twice before posting about your new expensive purchase or going on vacation.
Use password managers or keep it simple like I do with an Excel spreadsheet stored in a secure cloud.
Enable two-step verification for websites that offer this additional security.
Scroll through your monthly financial transactions instead of scrolling through your social media while waiting.
Request your credit report the same time 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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of 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 spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. 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’.”