Identity Theft Prevention Tips from ITS

With almost 10 million people a year having their identity stolen, the chances of you falling victim is very high. The number one theft of identity comes from credit cards, but there are other thefts that take place such as bank accounts, email, social networks, and even tax returns. There are ways to protect your identity and lessen your chances of theft, but remember that one account accessed can allow a thief access to other accounts; so be diligent.
Use the following tips:

  • When setting up security questions for accounts, do not use the actual answer to the question. One of the easiest ways thieves gain access to accounts is that they find answers about your favorite color, vacation spot, pet/kids name, etc. through social networking. If they found that you have an account with a bank/credit card and you just used your name format as the account name, they can go through the security questions and gain access. Use different answers to questions like: ‘Favorite Pet’ = Brown (color), ‘Favorite Sport in College’ = Hawaii (vacation spot)
  • Protect mobile devices with security software like; infected apps are easily downloaded and they will gain access to the accounts that you work with on your device. Some will even utilize the NFC (Near-Field Communication) feature to access other devices or credit cards (some new credit cards have built-in wireless technology).
  • Never fall for email solicitation/phishing scams. No legitimate company will ask for personal information or account information through email or phone. These scams are getting better and better at looking like official emails from your company.
  • Be careful who you accept as friends on social networking sites (i.e., Facebook), as this is an easy way for someone to learn of you personally. Also be careful about what information you post on network and blog sites.
  • Use strong passwords that do not include your name or dictionary words. Use abbreviations that are easy to remember but difficult for others to guess: I hate to change my password = 1h2CmP:
  • Be informed of new threats, do your research, and never be deceived that “it won’t happen” to you.
More information can be found at the ITS Information Security Awareness site.
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