You can barely surf the internet these days without seeing or hearing something about online fraud and identity theft.
The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that tracks security breaches and assists victims, reported 1,244 corporate and government data breaches in 2018, exposing more than 446 million records containing consumers’ personal information.
Yes, you read that right: 446 million.
Alarmed? All of us should be. It might just be time to do some spring cleaning of your own online security, including what sites you visit, passwords and habits when shopping, chatting or sharing information.
Here are 10 simple internet security tips to help protect yourself – and your money – against fraud and identity theft:
1: Know how your financial institution, credit card companies and anyone else you do business with protects your identity and your assets. Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, has an online arsenal of products, security checks and procedures to help prevent fraud and identity theft.
3: Change your passwords often. Experts recommend you create unique, strong passwords for different accounts, and make sure they aren’t based on your email address, family names, birthdays or other easy-to-crack personal information.
4: Close old accounts that you don’t use anymore, especially those that have your credit card information stored online. If you have credit cards that you never use but want to keep open, or have misplaced, contact your financial institution and ask if the accounts can be frozen. You can often do this yourself online or from your phone.
5: Unsubscribe from all those “junk” emails you receive. There’s no reason to let someone keep clogging up your inbox, or have access to your email address, if you don’t need them to.
6: Review apps and tools you use to see if they are still useful. Be sure to check security settings and policies on those you keep.
7: Don’t save your financial information on shopping websites, or any websites for that matter.
8: Use a digital wallet* for shopping. This allows you to make quick and secure in-store or online purchases with your phone or other mobile device. Plus, you don’t have to carry all your credit cards around with you.
Set security alerts on mobile banking* to track transactions and alert you quickly to any potential fraud or theft.
Be very wary of social media scams. Never respond to unfamiliar emails, text messages, social media messages or friend requests (or even phone calls). Just like you wouldn’t let a stranger into your house, don’t invite them into your virtual living room.
* Message and data rates may apply.
Navy Federal is federally insured by NCUA.