Avoid the bait and phish of modern cybercrime
At Bread Savings, we care about keeping your information safe and protecting your identity. Today more than ever, it’s important to be diligent. Before you click on that too-good-to-be true work-from-home job posting or email link that uses current events to play on your fears and vulnerabilities, remember that cybercrime is constantly evolving. The 2019 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec notes that cybercriminals are finding ever more sophisticated ways to take advantage of their victims
Protect yourself by staying informed about the latest schemes and watching out for these signs that your personal information may have been compromised:
- You don’t receive bills or other mail.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Your medical claim is rejected because records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You learn that your information was compromised by a data breach.
A password is all that’s needed to commit identity theft according to Jared Feldman, partner at Anchin, Block and Anchin. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to minimize your risk:
- Create a strong password
Many businesses require a combination of numbers, letters and special symbols. Two-factor authentication is also common. An example is being asked to set a password and answer a series of security questions.
- Freeze your credit report
If you are not planning to open a new account anytime soon, follow these simple instructions to prevent others from opening one in your name.
- Set transaction alerts
Quickly detect and prevent online fraud by setting alerts on the sites that you share personal data with, such as shopping, bank and credit cards.
- Secure your devices
Thieves are especially interested in smartphones because of the amount of personal data stored and sent. Always enable the screen lock, avoid public Wi-Fi networks, encrypt the data and use strong passwords.
- Use a credit monitoring service
For a fee, you can secure round-the-clock identity fraud protection from a service that monitors your credit report for suspicious activity and warns you about potential risks.
If identity fraud happens, take these steps:
- Contact the fraud department at the company where the breach occurred. Ask them to place a freeze on your account and change all logins and passwords.
- Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit report. Follow these simple instructions to prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
- Report identity theft to the FTC. You can do this online or by calling 877-433-4338. Create an account so that you can track your recovery progress and easily access the necessary forms.
- File a police report. This may be useful when contacting lenders, banks and insurance companies. You’ll need to bring your FTC Identity Theft Report, photo ID, proof of address and proof of theft.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is current. This will protect you from malicious intrusion that may place your online profile credentials and any documents on your device at risk.
There’s no denying that cybercriminals are getting smarter. Staying alert, thinking before you click, and taking a few simple precautions can keep you one step ahead of them.