The Murphy Monitor

Stop Online Fraud, Identity Theft: Stash Cards, Shred Documents

Posted on: 06-10-2017 by: The Murphy Insurance Group

We live so much of our lives online: we pay bills, watch television, visit with family and buy everything we need and want with a tap, click or swipe. As online technology progresses, thieves move faster and well ahead on the digital curve, stealing $2 billion dollars from two million victims in 2016. Protect your digital life and finances from fraud with these 11 steps:

  • Buy a shredder: Destroy all paper statements with personal information. Do not throw them in the trash for "dumpster divers" to find; your bank account, credit card numbers and other information lead thieves to your money.
  • When "tech support" calls: The phone rings and the person on the phone says you have a problem with your computer; he wants to help you fix it. Hang up; tech support is Thief Central trying to get your personal information.
  • Keep your online profiles private and impersonal: Don't use the "public" setting on social media platforms, don't reveal details such as your age, address, birthday or anything about your children.
  • Pick your passwords carefully, change them frequently: Don't use common words, names or number combinations. Mix upper and lower case letters, number and symbols in passwords. Don't elect the "Save Signon" option for your bank, credit card, medical or other websites containing personal information.
  • Use a multiple password authentication: Add your phone number as a secondary login. A message containing a numeric code goes to your smart phone, providing an additional layer of login security.
  • Don't save credit card numbers online: It's convenient, until hacking shuts down your favorite shopping website and your credit information is vulnerable.
  • Exercise your right to delete (emails): Unless you know the sender, use caution before opening emails. Phishing, Nigerian banking, survey or quiz invitations, online dating, secret shopper, "free" security scans and government emails are just a few spam examples. Don't open them; just delete.
  • Monitor your credit reports: Get your free annual credit report and review it for errors and signs of fraud, including credit cards and loans opened in your name without your knowledge.  
  • Use spyware and anti-virus software on your devices: Update your computer to the latest software version and run your system's spyware and anti-virus software regularly.
  • Dispose of your old devices properly: Before you dump or donate the hardware, save the files you want and obtain a utility program to wipe the hard drive clean. 
  • Mobile device defense: Keep your laptop and phone in sight; don't leave them in your vehicle or unattended in the office, at the airport or in a hotel room. Don't store passwords on mobile devices. Beware of free public Wi-Fi; set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or carry a portable modem.



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