Is Your Personal Information Protected From Data Thieves?
Personal information is supposed to be just that – personal. However, in today’s electronic world, your personal data is pretty easy to access. Your name, address, social security number, and credit card information are stored in numerous data bases. Even for people who shun technology, their personal data is still accessible to unauthorized individuals. However, there are a few steps anyone can take to minimize the threat of loss due to a data breach.
1. Minimize the amount of data you share.
While no one has control over data stored on computers outside of their homes, keeping the shear amount of personal data stored elsewhere to a minimum is important. Websites are notorious for requesting information they don’t really need. Sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest, as examples, try to get users to provide large volumes of personal data. If you wish to use these types of sites, keep the amount of data they have about you to an absolute minimum.
2. Don’t use the same password for every website.
Even though security experts have extolled users to vary their passwords, people rarely follow that advice. Security experts expect passwords to become obsolete in the future, but for now, users are advised to not only use different passwords for different sites, but also to change those passwords regularly. This is especially true for banking and marketing sites you elect to do business with.
3. Be vigilant.
Stolen data is often used for accessing existing or opening new accounts. Since data theft is so pervasive, experts recommend carefully monitoring existing accounts at banks and retail sites for unauthorized use. If any suspicious activity is noted, report it at once and freeze the accounts affected. Monitoring credit bureaus is also strongly advised, as doing so helps detect unauthorized activity before it gets out of hand. Freezing your credit report is also recommended if any issues with accounts are noted. All major credit reporting agencies provide ways to prevent anyone from viewing your credit report.
Data theft is a major issue, and the frequency of breaches seems to be increasing. Consumers can take steps to keep the odds of their information being used to a minimum, but there is virtually no way to eliminate the potential for data theft. Protecting your data requires vigilance and taking steps to reduce the odds of exposing personal information to data thieves.