Skip to main content

Smart Ways to Protect Against ID Theft

News of another data breach makes you nervous. You’re trying to build your credit so you can qualify for your first home loan. All it takes is for one criminal to damage what you’ve taken months or possibly years to build. The most recent FBI Internet Crime Report cited 16,128 victims of identity theft in 2018, resulting in over $100 million in losses. Remember that these are only the cases reported to the FBI. Some victims never notify authorities or may inform other organizations instead. In either case, the reported figures can make American consumers feel helpless.

There are simple actions you can take to make it harder for criminals to access your personal data.

Here are nine ways to keep your information secure from prying eyes online and off.

Online

  1. Use anti-virus software on your computers, laptops, and tablets.
  2. Allow manufacturer updates on all devices to help protect against hackers.
  3. Change passwords at regular intervals. Make sure they include a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  4. Avoid completing banking transactions on public wi-fi. Smart hackers can gain access to your computer on a public network.
  5. Activate security features available on your mobile phone.
  6. Enable two-factor authentication or biometrics to secure your devices.

    Offline

  7. Shred paper bills once payment is confirmed by the creditor. Add old receipts, credit card, and bank account statements to your shred pile. Please join us for ID Protection Day this September. (See details below.)
  8. Pay attention to changes in your credit history report, unexpected late fees or other unusual financial activity such as charges for items you did not authorize.
  9. Don’t share your social security number, date of birth, or financial data to someone who initiates the request via phone, text, or email.

Staying informed is one of the smartest things you can do to protect against identity theft. Sign up for email updates on new scams and their warning signs on the FTC’s Consumer Information page.

Join us for ID Protection Day this September to begin taking steps to help safeguard you and your family. Bring up to 3 boxes of your personal information, account statements, legal documents to be shredded for free. Plus, bring the kids for face painting and a free Fingerprinting kit!

When: Saturday, September 21st (9 am to noon or until trucks reach capacity)
Where: Largo Plaza Shopping Center (on rt. 214 facing Lowe’s and Target)
10500 Campus Way South, Largo, MD 20774

 

Keeping You in the Know

  • Emergency Funds
  • 50/30/20 Rule
  • Meet Your 401(k)

Emergency Funds

3 Min Read

One of the most effective tools for preventing a large-scale financial disaster is an emergency fund…

Learn about Emergency Funds

50/30/20 Rule

7 Min Read

The 50/30/20 rule is a simple, practical rule of thumb for individuals who want a budget that is easy, yet effective, to implement…

How to Set Your New Budget

Meet Your 401(k)

3 Min Read

Even if you’re just starting your first real job—actually, especially if you’re just starting your first real job—it’s time to start thinking about retiring…

How to Plan for Retirement