Prevent Identity Theft

Prevent Identity Theft - Vecteezy.com illustration by dollyheidiImage credit: Illustration by dollyheidi on Vecteezy.com

It can seem like protecting your identity is nearly impossible in the age of the internet, especially since we see news reports of a breach or information disclosure from another company almost monthly. This month has been particularly bad with three new breaches reported. Email verification service Verifications.io suffered a breach that released 763 million records of personal information including dates of birth, email addresses, employers, genders, geographic locations, IP addresses, job titles, names, phone numbers and physical addresses. Houzz is a housing design site that announced in March that they had a breach last May exposing almost 49 million email addresses, geographic locations, IP addresses, names, passwords, social media profiles and usernames. Ixigo is a travel site that suffered a breach in January exposing authentication tokens, device information, email addresses, genders, names, passwords, phone numbers, salutations, social media profiles, and usernames of 17 million users. That is a lot of new personal information available on the internet for the right price. This is on top of last year's Equifax breach that contained the information of almost every American. The Equifax data has not yet shown up on the dark web for sale.

However, all is not lost. You can take some simple steps to protect your identity, your good name, and your credit.

Steps to protect your idenity

  1. Cyber Travis Facing leftThink before you post. Personal information posted to social media may seem harmless, but it can be harvested to build a treasure trove of information about you. Be especially careful of internet quizzes. A lot of those questions are designed to find out personal information that can be used to recover account passwords or even open new credit cards.
  2. Check your bank statements and credit cards for unusual activity. This important part of protecting your credit is easy to overlook. Try setting a monthly reminder to review your statements. Otherwise, examine the statement when it arrives or before you pay the bill.
  3. Use a password manager. Password managers make it easy to use a different and complex password at each web site you use. This way, a breach at one internet site won't expose your logins to other web sites.
  4. Freeze your credit. A credit freeze is a free and easy way to protect you from identity theft. Once a credit freeze is in place, only you can remove it to open new accounts. For more information on credit freezes read this article: Credit Freezes are Free: Let the Ice Age Begin.


As always, remember to keep your device, operating system and applications up to date. Be especially aware of keeping web browsers, Java and Adobe Flash player current.

Finally, don't accidentally expose your logins to the bad guys via a phishing email. If you suspect a message may be phishing, submit it as an attachment to abuse@uwgb.edu and we will check it out for you. Often, we are able to stop the phishers in their tracks by shutting down email accounts and blocking malicious login pages. 

 

Posted: 3/19/2019 3:24:00 PM by Travis Albrecht | with 0 comments


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