Identity theft is very real. And our digital lives make it easier than ever to be hacked. Think about your week. How many emails did you send? Make any online purchases? Use your debit or credit cards? Post any personal information to your social media account? Think about how sophisticated information targeting has gotten. Have you ever noticed that certain websites can now place ads based on your most recent search engine topics?
My point here is that there are any number of ways for our personal information to be compromised, and it doesn’t take a home robbery for it to happen. In fact, whether you use the Internet or not, your personal information is out there and you need to protect it.
So here’s a list of suggested actions to be sure you keep personally identifiable information (PII) safe.
- Don’t email documents with PII. If you must share information this way, explore your server’s method of encrypting the email to be sure it’s sent secure.
- Consider using a service like PayPal for online purchases, instead of allowing various vendors access to your credit card or debit card information.
- Review your passwords. Are you using the same password over and over? Is it short and sweet so it is easy to remember? Do you write down your passwords and leave them lying next to the access point, or worse yet, on your computer? These are all bad ideas.
- Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection company like LifeLock. Or do regular credit checks to verify activity. These could be small spends for big peace of mind.
If you do keep physical files, consider these additional ways to protect PII.
- Shred your documents when you’re done with them. While it’s OK to keep recent files for reference, there are more secure ways to store records than in a box in your office or basement. Consider going to paperless statements and utilizing a digitally secure record-keeping system.
- Control physical access to your information, by keeping important files locked in a safe place. Or consider physical security systems, such as the one we use, SimpliSafe.
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t gotten lax a time or two. So take the time to double check your security. If you need help, give us a call. We’re here to help align your personal values, vision and wealth, which includes helping you protect your PII.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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