· Use anti-virus, anti-spyware software and a firewall. Be sure to update these programs regularly.
· Use a password on your smartphone.
· Be careful in using free public Wi-Fi. Be sure not to connect to financial accounts or do online shopping at a public Wi-Fi.
· Change the passwords on your accounts, especially financial accounts, regularly. Some experts recommend changing passwords every 90 days.
· Monitor your online back and credit card accounts frequently.
But there are vulnerabilities in the physical world for your personal information. ID thieves often can be found in parking lots, dumpster diving, and trolling our mailboxes.
· Locking Mailbox. Mail thieves are often after your bank and credit card information. Credit card statements, utility bills, and health care information can be used to take your identity. Use a locking mailbox to send and receive your mail.
· Shred Documents. Those same bills, bank statements and credit card statements can be used by ID thieves if you throw them in the garbage. Shred any documents with a bank/financial account number, credit card number, or your Social Security Number. Look for a micro-cut shredder. Documents that are run through a micro-cut shredder are the most difficult to put back together.
· Prevent a Car Prowl. Don’t leave anything visible when you leave your car. Car prowlers often find identity gold mines in parking lots and driveways when they find purses, wallets, checkbooks, mail, cell phones and laptops/tablet computers.
By taking these practical measures, you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.
AARP Fraud Watch Network: