Updated: Dec 29, 2021
5 tips to safeguard your data security
As we get more digital, share more online; shopping, banking, trading etc. Yes, even trading the stock market online via the conveniences of APPs, data breaches and ID theft occurrences increase.
We heard about Equifax, Target and others. Well, Robinhood, the online trading app, was the most recent victim several weeks ago; with a hack confirmed, that resulted in a loss of more than five million customer email addresses, two million customer names taken, and a smaller set of more specific customer data.
So how can you keep safe and be proactive?
Here are some suggestions for protecting yourself
1. File taxes early
The last thing you want is to find out someone filed a tax return with your social security number and need to file a paper return that can take a year to get processed never mind the nightmare of unravelling that identity theft.
2. Update & use strong passwords
This is especially important on our financial accounts. We can all get caught in the trap of wanting to use easy to remembers passwords. Be careful what you are posting on social media and limit access to your posts, using privacy settings, as this is where trollers will look for password hints.
3. Avoid using public Wi-FI when out and about
Consider purchasing a product that creates a virtual private network (VPN) which is a secure connection that protect your browsing history from others on a public Wi-Fi connection.
4. Be leery of phishing emails and spam calls
Look at the address of the sender. Legitimate emails will not end in s '@gmail.com', ‘yahoo.com’ etc. Remember the IRS, Social Security will never call you and collections agencies will not call you to let you know that the police are on their way to your home to arrest you if you don’t make a payment in the next hour.
5. Determine what information was exposed
Typically, there will be a report or a website for the hacked firm allowing you to check if your data was part of the information leaked or compromised. This Business Insider article How to find out in 2 easy steps if your data was exposed in an online breach has a resource and unique way to check if your email address has been compromised.
6. Check Your credit report
Get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus each year via AnnualCreditReport.com. If you see anything suspicious or wrong;, for example -accounts you didn’t open, misspellings of your name, home addresses that you do not recognize, or incorrect employers
· put a credit freeze on your account with each of the Credit Bureaus
· visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website identitytheft.gov, where you can
find comprehensive checklist on best next steps
This is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion on the topic, data security, tax, financial planning or law advice; but rather items for consideration so that you may make better protect your data and privacy.
This content was developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice, and may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Always consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation/circumstances. Additionally, the opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or service.