As identity theft becomes more prevalent in today’s world, we are here to help you take the steps you need to secure your personal information.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information to impersonate them in some form. Typically there is a financial gain for the fraudster. What you do before or after your data is stolen can directly impact how the criminal can use your information. Below are resources that will help you take the actions you need to protect your personal information.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Data breach protection steps:
- Create strong passwords and save them in encrypted software. While you're at it, add two-factor authentication to as many accounts as you can, especially bank accounts and accounts containing any personal information.
Freeze your credit and review your credit report annually. You can pull your credit report once per year from each agency. (Links to Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax provided below). Don’t forget about freezing your children’s credit as well!
- Select one device to access your finances on and use it exclusively for that purpose. Don’t log into email, initiate any web searches, or access any social media accounts from your designated device. You should also make sure you password protect and back up all computers.
- Be cautious with information you share online. Criminals can easily gather information about you and your family. That family tree you worked on a few years ago lists your mother’s maiden name in black and white. This information can be used to target you or to answer security questions.
- Add verbal passwords to accounts whenever possible.
Establish a mySocial Security account online. Due to the fact that many individuals do not access their Social Security account until they are closer to drawing benefits, there is an opportunity for fraud to go undetected for a long period of time. Read More: Sign Up for “my Social Security” – It’s a No-Brainer!
Obtain an IRS Identity Protection PIN. This PIN prevents anyone other than you from filing a tax return using your Social Security number.
- Get An Identity Protection PIN
I’VE BEEN HACKED! WHAT DO I DO?
Data breach action steps:
- Contact your financial advisor and the custodians of your financial accounts to inform them of the data breach
- Change online passwords (banking, financial accounts, email, etc.). Make them all strong and unique.
- Report crime to local police (if items have been stolen, such as laptop, hard drive, purse, etc.)
Contact credit bureaus to put a freeze on your credit
Run a credit report and review for inaccuracies
Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security number has been compromised
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to if someone is using your personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund
- 1-877-IDTHEFT (TTY 1-866-653-4261)
Visit IRS website for more information if you’re a victim of tax fraud
Consider filing a complaint at your state’s attorney general website
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We have helped our clients answer these questions and more. If you want a clear understanding of your financial future, and need help making changes to reach your goals, schedule a consultation and we can get started.