CHIPS Articles: Actions You Can Take Now to Prevent Identity Theft
Actions You Can Take Now to Prevent Identity Theft
According to the Privacy Rights Clearing House, in 2017 there were 829 data breaches in the U.S. affecting over 2 billion individual records. Virtually every adult in the U.S. has had their privacy sensitive information compromised at least once and probably multiple times. This Privacy Tip provides actions you can take to prevent or minimize the potential for identity theft. The OCIO Privacy Team has developed a list of things you can do now to protect your privacy.
- Place a Security Freeze on your accounts or place a Fraud or Active Duty Alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name. Strongly consider Placing a Security Freeze or a Fraud Alert with the major credit bureaus for your dependent children.
- Monitor your accounts regularly and request three free credit reports per year (1 each from the major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).
- Use two-factor identification to access accounts or apps.
- Manage your passwords properly.
Reduce your exposure by initiating the following free actions online:
- Consider using a password manager
- Use a strong password
- Change passwords periodically (40% use same PW for multiple accounts)
- Change your security questions periodically
Destroy your PII so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands:
- Stop unsolicited credit card and insurance offers
- Stop spam emails
- Stop direct marketing mail
- Stop unsolicited phone calls
- Improve home computer and network security
- Use secure web browsing
- Verify unfamiliar links
- Manage your privacy controls on social media
And finally, if you would rather have a service that specializes in looking for and detecting identity theft, consider purchasing an Identity theft protection service.
- Destroy old hard drives by crushing or drilling holes in the drive
- Cross-shred all paper containing PII
The Identity Theft slide deck provides information on how to perform the above actions and additional measures you can take to prevent identity theft.
You can download the OCIO Identity Theft Slide Deck here.