Z is for To “FreeZe or Not to FreeZe” Your Credit?

When hackers breach large organizations or our government, there is often great alarm. After the Equifax breach, many of us were wondering what we should do to protect ourselves. Should we freeze our credit? We are also wondering, how does this happen? And is there a way to it stop?

In today’s world of technology, we must be vigilant about protecting our personal information online. The incident of cybercrime is high, and there is no relief in sight. Choose to be proactive and practice “cybersecurity safety”. Reduce potential risk by:

Check all your credit reports. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com. If you see activity that you do not recognize, contact IdentityTheft.gov immediately. 

Put a credit freeze on your files. Doing this will make it harder for a thief to open a new account in your name. But remember, it won’t prevent others from making charges on existing accounts.  Check your statements regularly and report any charges that you do not recognize immediately.

Keep your security up to date. Use security software you trust, and make sure you set it to update automatically.

Be vigilant and aware. Check every email address, if it looks strange, it is most likely a phishing attempt. Remember, phishing scammers use trickery; they tend to incorporate trusted logos or friends and family names in emails to lure us into a false sense of security. These techniques can easily fool us into clicking on an email or a malicious site.

Turn on two-factor authentication. Using two-factor authentication gives you the second code to enter on login. The code is delivered to your phone, or you may have a random number generated by an app or token. This method can help protect your account if your password becomes compromised.

Always use secure internet. Free Wi-Fi is often unsecured and should be avoided especially when personal information can be accessed. If you must, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is software that creates a secure connection over the internet.

Use a Firewall. Firewalls help block unauthorized access to your computers and devices keeping all of your devices secure, including Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets, such as door locks, thermostats, etc. Many of these devices do not have security measures built in and may provide easy entry into networks for hackers.

Use complex passwords. Change them regularly and store in a safe location or use a reputable password manager.

Don’t Share Too Much Information – social media has its benefits but be cautious about how much and what you share, especially identity information.

Reduce your risk and stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity practices. Doing so may help minimize the risk of attacks by hackers and help keep your online self – safe and secure. For more safety information, go to the Federal Trade Commission Website.

Answers from A to Z

 

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™).If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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