Are you opening the door to identity theft?
Admit it, you cut corners. We all do. In the name of convenience, we sometimes overlook security. Just look at how we handle our personal information. We know we shouldn’t post our Social Security number publicly. We also know it’s important to keep our credit card numbers, PINs and passwords private. Yet over 12 million consumers suffered identity fraud in 2014.1 Applying our knowledge of handling information safely is apparently another matter.
Let’s take a look at a list of the top 5 ways we invite identity theft into our lives.
- Using the same password for every account we have.
A no brainer, right? If a hacker gets a hold of your password he can open all your accounts. So why are 43-51 percent of us still using the same password for multiple accounts and applications? 2
- Conducting financial transactions at an Internet café.
One Internet security firm estimates that 89 percent3 of public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world are not secure. Yet 84 percent of travelers do not take necessary precautions when using public Wi-Fi. 4
- Opening phishing emails just because we’re curious.
Phishing is not going away. One report cites that over 100 billion spam emails are sent each day. 5 When in doubt, delete it.
- Posting everything on social media.
Facebook has nearly 50 percent of all the world’s Internet users as active accountholders.6 Posting a “selfie” with your credit card bill exclaiming how great it is to be debt free is not a good idea.
- Not using a password on your mobile phone.
A phone isn’t just a phone anymore. We store everything on them. 36 percent of mobile users still do not use a password to protect their phone. 7 Remember, “no PIN” lets them in.
While you’ll want to avoid opening any of these five doors to identity theft, there are many other ways we invite fraud. Use this list as a starting point for all the things you can do to protect your valuable personal data. With every transaction — online, mobile or in-person — make sure it’s secure before you revel in its convenience.
1 Javelin 2015 Identity Fraud Report 2 http://www.internetsociety.org/sites/default/files/06_1_1.pdf 3 Survey shows travelers do not take precautions 4 Travelers attitudes on WIFI 5 Phishing.org 6 Social media facts and statistics for 2013 7 McAfee
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