We live in a world where things seemingly are becoming more secure. Passwords are becoming more complex. We are switching from normal credit cards to EMV chip secure cards. Confirmation and tracking numbers are now attached to most anything we purchase.
...and we still deal with data breaches and card compromises on a regular basis.
We get it. It's very frustrating when your card is compromised and you have to wait for another one to come in the mail. Bad guys are always going to be looking for ways to steal your information, and while there are definitely things out of your control, there are some simple ways you can protect your personal information. Here's what we suggest to make sure you aren't caught in the middle of a identity theft pickle.
Shred Personal Documents
If you have old statements, bills, or even credit card offers, before you throw them away, make sure you shred all personal documents. These bills and statements can be used to open up cards and accounts in your name without even realizing it until your credit score tanks and you owe hundreds or thousands of dollars to companies you've never done business with. By shredding these documents, it will ensure that your personal information isn't out for the world to see.
If you are setting up a PIN for your card, or picking out a new password, be creative and don't use personal information or very basic codes. For instance: RedSox34, 12345, Password and anything to do with your last name are all terrible passwords. In the same regard, PIN numbers should not reflect any personal information such as your social security number, phone number or birthday. Unfortunately, many people use similar passwords and PINs and it's quite easy to break into someone's personal accounts if you have a password/PIN that has personal information. Start off with symbols in your password instead of letters and use a combination of numbers for your PIN that don't relate to anything personal. Again, the more creative you are, the less likely to get hacked.
Be Wary of Public WiFi
If you've got a laptop and travel, chances are you've probably logged into a personal account while using public WiFi. Public WiFi can be used by anyone, which also means that your computer could potentially be hacked into when others are using the same WiFi that you are. Without getting completely technical and boring, essentially they can sneak into your computer and steal your files because they are using the same internet connection that you are. Now, we're not saying you should never use public WiFi, but be cautious when you are connected. If you don't have to check your accounts when you're connected, don't. Better safe than sorry!
Don't Over Share on Social Media
People tend to be over sharers on social media, and while that photo of your dog is cute, don't go into great detail about your financial/personal information. It can be used against you for opening cards in your name. In fact, there's a Twitter account (Plug: You should follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) which shows people sharing actual photos of their debit and credit cards. They freely posted it...which is not overly smart considering you can steal the number and purchasing things online.
Don't Carry Your SSN
As tempting as it might be, don't carry your social security number in your wallet or purse. If you lose your wallet/purse and your SSN is inside, the perpetrator will be able to do some major damage. Instead, keep it in a safe place in your house. It will save you from a world of headaches if you by chance have your wallet swiped.
Even if you choose to do one or two of these, you'll find that your personal information will be much more secure. We encourage you to try them out!
-The Taconnet Team