Some people refer to August as the “Sunday of the summer” because of its position as the last full month before fall. For football fans, however, this status is nothing to lament, since Sunday is game day and August is when the first pre-season whistles begin to sound.
For those who can’t quite make it out onto the field for training camp, August also marks the beginning of the fantasy football season, when fans from around the country sit down to draft and manage their digital teams. As many as 57.4 million people across the U.S. and Canada played in fantasy sports leagues last year, with football being the most popular option, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
While the teams they manage may not exist in real life, fantasy sports players may be at a very real risk of identity theft. From personally identifying information to payment details, fantasy football profiles contain a trove of information cybercriminals might find valuable in their quest to commit ID theft. If you’re one of the millions looking forward to your fantasy football season, add these identity theft protection tips to your list of draft day preparations:
Watch what you share
Like any online account, it’s important not to give away any personal details in your fantasy football profile. It might be tempting to add your hometown or date of birth to your account to give other players a sense of who they’re matching up against, but including this type of personal information on a public profile can put your privacy at risk, TIME reported.
Another common faux pas is to include your name in the moniker you choose for your team. Building your username around even just your first or last name could make it easier for a fraudster to target your accounts, according to Next Advisor. Even if you’re playing in a league with a group of close friends, treat your fantasy football account like any other public profile, including as little information about yourself as possible.
Lock it up
With matchups constantly evolving as the week goes on, it often serves fantasy football players well to log in and check their lineups on the go. Choosing a simple password you can enter in a jiffy might be easiest, but succumbing to this temptation could put more than your team at risk. In addition to the personal details stored in your profile, pay-to-play fantasy leagues may also store your payment data. Failure to secure your profile with a robust password could leave you vulnerable to credit fraud. To come up with a strong password, use a combination of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters more than eight characters long, USA Today suggested. If you’re afraid you won’t be able to remember another long password, don’t recycle old passwords or write your new one down – instead use a password manager to store your new code in a secure, easy-to-access location.
Play on private WiFi
As a general best practice, never log in to a password-protected account while connected to a public WiFi network. While they may be convenient, these hotspots are typically far less secure than the private network you might have at home, Forbes reported. Fraudsters can use specialized software to “eavesdrop” on your browsing session, keeping track of the login credentials you use and data you access. If you desperately need to check your team’s progress, limit yourself to looking up the scores and statistics that could affect your team without actually logging into your account.
These suggestions can go a long way toward protecting your identity, but they unfortunately cannot eliminate the threat of ID theft altogether. To add a layer of protection to your account, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service like Identity Guard. We can keep an eye on certain data points and alert you if we detect certain activity that may indicate fraud. To learn more, contact us today.