Identity theft

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Your Identity in 2017

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Before you begin checking off your New Year's resolutions, add these five items to your list to protect your identity throughout 2017.

New Year’s is a time when people begin making a list of resolutions they want to fulfill or keep during the following year. Some may promise to diet, exercise frequently or travel more. Whatever your resolutions are this year, consider adding these five additional items to your list to protect your identity well into 2017 and beyond:

  1. Check before you buy: The Better Business Bureau vets thousands of companies throughout the country and approves them with its Accredited Business seal. As one of your first New Year’s resolutions, begin only shopping at BBB-approved retailers and e-commerce websites. Meanwhile, if you purchase items at unapproved shops, pay with cash so that your credit card information is not put at risk in the event of a data breach.
  2. Stop letting your devices “remember you”: While the “remember me” box may save you a few minutes in the future by not having to type in your username and password, it could be putting your identity at risk. What happens if your computer or phone is stolen? Instead of thieves having to waste time guessing your password, all they have to do is use the auto-fill option and they then have access to your social media platforms, e-commerce accounts and bank information. Turn off the “remember me” and start typing in your passwords today.
  3. Revamp your computer’s security: When is the last time you updated your computer’s anti-virus or firewall software? The BBB urged consumers to update their computer’s software protections in an effort to better secure yourself from cyber threats. Meanwhile, don’t open up emails or attachments that come from suspicious accounts or messages from unknown sources over social media. These invitations might be hackers trying to bait you.
  4. Buy a shredder: Though it may seem a little old school, you should invest in a good shredder for all your financial and personal documents. Tearing up these papers is not enough, as thieves can easily reassemble or obtain essential data off of them. Take ample precaution and shred all of your bills, bank statements, receipts, and any mail that has your personal information that you don’t need to hang on to.
  5. Be mindful with charity donations: While the holiday season might put you in the mind to give to an important cause, make sure that the charity you are giving to is legitimate. To know if the charity is reputable, the FTC released a charity checklist that you should look over before you donate. Doing a quick online search of the charity before you give  is a great way to see if there are any potential scams, or if the majority of its proceeds don’t actually benefit the cause. Also, be wary when donating to nonprofits that form quickly after natural disasters or other events; even if they are trustworthy, they might not have the resources, infrastructure or experience to follow through with their promises. Once you donate, keep a record of your donations in case of any disputes on your taxes in regards to charitable contributions.

We know that it can be alarming to hear about threats to your privacy and data breaches that could compromise your identity. Sometimes it can seem that you have to change everything about your life just to be more secure. Identity Guard understands that your unique habits are what make you, you. That’s why we offer a variety of products to help you protect your identity and manage your individual risks. Learn how we can help you protect what’s yours.