How to Prevent Identity Crime

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Protect Your Identity When Online. Arm Yourself With Knowledge.

Every year, thousands of people become victims of identity crime through their use of the Internet. In addition to substantial economic losses, many victims suffer other related impacts due to the abuse of their identity.

  1. Be careful when giving out personally identifiable information on the Internet. Consider how this information could be used to negatively affect you personally, financially and professionally.
    Be wary of any messages or sites that ask for your personal information, or messages that refer you to an unfamiliar web page asking for any of the following details:

    • Usernames
    • Passwords
    • Social Insurance or Social Security numbers
    • Bank account numbers
    • PIN’s (Personal Identification Numbers)
    • Credit card information
    • Your mother’s maiden name
    • Your birthday
  2. Never use email or text messages to send passwords, personal identification number (PIN), or confidential personal information, as this data could be deliberately or inadvertently mishandled.
  3. Be diligent when logging onto websites. Check the address bar in your browser to see if the URL looks real. The login address should begin with https:// – which indicates the connection is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar indicating the connection is encrypted and more securely connected.
  4. Monitor for unauthorized charges on your bank and credit card statements on a regular basis.
  5. Use a crosscut shredder to destroy personal information, financial emails or any documents printed off websites that could disclose personal and sensitive information.
  6. Use discretion when providing your email address to anyone. Set up the password recovery option when establishing your email account to help you recover your account quickly, easily and securely in case you email is compromised.
  7. Securely dispose of old computers, mobile devices, personal devices or any device that collects personal information by removing the hard drive and securely recycling, shredding or professionally erasing/wiping the hard drive clean.
  8. Ensure your Wi-Fi set-up is secure, your encryption is enabled and you have established a strong password on your network. Be cautious logging onto social networking websites or conducting financial transactions on public Wi-Fi networks, as these locations are often vulnerable to snoopers and hackers.
  9. Be suspicious opening messages from a friend or a person in the workplace whose behavior seems out of the ordinary. It is possible, their account may have been compromised and their address book accessed for malicious purposes.
    Social engineers often use techniques that appeal to your emotions therefore watch for emails that seem urgent, that ask for help, or that make you feel sad, guilty or excited. Be suspicious of free offers, special deals or any communication that mentions making or sending money.
  10. Watch for requests or invitations to click a link to see a picture, an article or a video. These often lead to websites that could infect your computer with malware.
  11. Create strong passwords, ones that are easy to remember yet difficult to guess. Use unique passwords on websites that you visit or bundle strong passwords based on the category of your favorite websites. Watch the type of information you reveal in a public profile, as this could be a starting point for hackers to attempt to crack your password.
  12. Change passwords on a regular basis and immediately change your passwords if you experience a breach of trust, a relationship break-up or a perceived threat.
  13. Conduct an annual credit bureau report and thoroughly review it looking or any unauthorized activity.

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