Monday, October 10, 2016

Keep Your Information Safe During the Holiday Season

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Halloween is almost here and along with  that comes the start of the annual holiday season. With data breaches, phishing and many other forms of cybercrime on the rise, now is the time to keep your information safe and out of the wrong hands.

Here are a few tips to help keep your personal information safe.

1. Limit What You Carry in Your Wallet (Especially When You Travel)

Only carry the bare essentials and NEVER carry your social security number with you. For those of you who keep your passwords and PIN codes in your wallet, you are setting yourself up for financial disaster (and it WILL happen).

There are password managers available online and offer many awesome features for storing your passwords. Get rid of your scratch paper and sticky notes and move to a safer environment with software such as LastPass or KeyPass

2. Be Phone Savvy

Realize that almost all major vendors, WILL NOT ask for your personal identifying information over the phone. If you get a call from an alleged IRS representative, HANG UP! They never make contact with you via phone or e-mail.

Credit card companies will already have your information in their databases, so DON'T give it out if you receive a phone call or email communication from them asking for your account passwords or balances on your accounts. They don't do business that way.

3. Think the Old-Fashioned Way

Criminals still look through garbage cans for credit card receipts and forms with other personal identifying information.

Invest in a shredder to shred documents or research when your community is hosting local shred-a-thons for free.

4. Protect Your Devices

Password protect all of your devices including your home desktop, laptop or tablet. Use antivirus software and keep all devices up-to-date with the current manufacturer updates and patches.

There are several free antivirus programs on the market including AVG or AVAST and if you feel you need added protection there is a paid version of AVG that offers other features such as remote lock and erase data in the event that the phone is lost or stolen.

5. Clear Your Cache

If you are a frequent flyer on the public Wi-Fi circuit, you should clear your browser's cache at the end of every session. Here are instructions for Chrome and Firefox.

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