By Rex Davis, Identity Theft Resource Center
As the new year approaches, we all resolve ourselves to make improvements somewhere in our life. Those resolutions may relate to physical health, career or personal success, or perhaps something as simple as making more time for recreation. Considering the ever increasing importance of protecting your personal information, it is now important to make New Year resolutions in this area of your life. The following resolutions are to assist you in keeping you and your family safe and secure from identity theft and fraud in the coming year.
- Change passwords often, and don’t use a common password for many accounts.
- Check your credit reports at least once a year, and more often if you suspect any suspicious activity on them.
- Buy a cross cut shredder and use it regularly for any sensitive papers that are being discarded.
- Keep your PC updated and secure!
- Ensure that antivirus/firewall software and Microsoft system updates are set to run regularly and automatically.
- When prompted by Flash, Java, Adobe, and other common programs to update the version, do so without delay. Update your pc’s anti-virus software.
- Make sure your computer account requires a login with a strong password, and that the screen saver requires a password to regain view of the desktop.
- If your computer is not going to be used for a period of time, such as a vacation trip, shut it down.
- Have a data backup method, and see that it is used regularly. Online backup facilities are a great way to have backups made automatically, and to be able to restore all your data, even if the old PC is destroyed or lost.
- Be Safe online:
- Don’t give out too much personal information, regardless of who you think you are communicating with at the moment. Your information is easy to forward or expose to anyone and everyone.
- Confirm the authenticity of websites before creating an account or shopping. It is all too easy to put up a website and appear to be a legitimate business while preparing to harvest user and account information.
- Do not use public computers if possible. By their very nature, public computers are more vulnerable to being hacked, or having Trojans, key loggers, and other malware installed on them by other users.