We all know how scary identity theft is. People stealing your account information, taking over your FaceBook page, stealing your private information. . . . It’s a constant threat.
Today I’m sharing a fraud prevention checklist. It’s all the things we know we should do. A reminder that it’s up to us to protect ourselves and our families. Many of the ideas on the checklist were from my bank, Bank of America. Nope I’m not saying they are any better than your bank. They are just the bank I know. I hope you find the checklist helpful.
First, make sure your information such as email address and cell phone number are up to date in your banking and other important accounts. Review and respond to fraud alerts promptly. If you use mobile banking apps, allow push alerts from the bank. Carry only necessary ID with you and do NOT carry your social security card.
One way we all try to protect our electronic devices is the use of comprehensive malware and anti-viral software. I’m not promoting any particular brand, but I use AVG. Computer viruses are malicious programs that infect and corrupt your programs and files, disrupt your computer’s performance, and just generally wreak havoc on their electronic host. But what distinguishes viruses from other forms of malware is their ability to replicate.
Only download software from a trusted source. Do not open attachments in emails from unknown sources. Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources in text messages, web pages, and emails. Keep your operating software up to date with automatic updates. The reason they update software is to fix weak or vulnerable aspects of the program. If you delay updating, you increase the chance of malware infection.
Whether you love your smart phone, or barely tolerate it, you’ll definitely want to keep it safe from viruses and malware. AVG has a great post on How to Find & Remove Viruses on Android & iPhones. I learned a lot from the article. So far, it seems, virus infection has not hit smartphones, but the bad guys are always working to get us. From the article, it seems it is harder to infect iPhones than androids. They explain way. Read up and keep informed. Use a strong software protection against malware. Learn the 7 signs that your phone is infected and what you can do to remove the malware. Have a sign-on password. Use multi-factor authentication or biometrics like a fingerprint if available on your smart phone.
Another of the main ways to protect yourself online is the use of really strong passwords. Use strong passwords and use different ones for each account. I know it’s a pain but if someone hacks your password, you don’t want them to use it on every account. Enable multi-factor authentication when available. When I first opened an email account back in 1998, I used an easy to remember name for the password. I used it all over the web. Well, a year and a half later, someone hacked that Yahoo email account, emptied my contacts, and sent everyone I know a fraudulent email. I apologized and tried to reinvent my contacts from all the trash and sent emails in folders. Sigh. Not a fun time.
When you’re hacked anywhere, your information is bundled with others and sold multiple times. Ever wonder where all the garbage emails come from? Even when you’re not hacked, any place you have an account even charities may sell your email address for $. Last year I got rid of 2 old email accounts and opened a new one for personal friends. I sent everyone an email explaining why from my old address and asked them to hit reply. I then forwarded that reply to my new email and added them to contacts. I then replied from the new address saying we’re complete. An old friend of 30 something years sent me an email saying she wasn’t changing my email yet as I’d probably change my mind. I replied this is the last email you’ll get from me then. We talk on the phone and post to each other on FaceBook. I doubt she changed the email address. Some people are stubborn, but the old email address was compromised. It’s hard work to change numerous accounts but sometimes it must be done.
I quit trying to remember passwords some years ago. I can’t do it. My pages of passwords is now up to 3. Some folks like my sister save their passwords in their browser. I don’t. Remember I have been hacked once. If you get a malware virus on your computer, they can then get ALL your passwords from the browser. Not Good! I try to update my password log immediately when one changes. My sister uses a little black address/password book. I have 2 versions of a Password Log for you. I like to do an alphabetical list and first gave you MS Word sheets to print and fill in with accounts and passwords. Keep your list safe.
The other version is alphabetical accounts in an Excel spreadsheet. You can modify to meet your needs. To add a line in the middle of the sheet, right-click on the line below your insertion point. Choose add row above. Now you can add an account alphabetically in the middle of a list. If you have suggestions for changes to the printable, please feel free to write. I’d be happy to update them.
Thanks for coming by. Stay safe!
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