The FBI has released an article with tips for individuals to build a digital defense against identity theft. In the article, the FBI recognizes that while the growing number of data breaches put more people at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, individuals can implement some basic security practices to help minimize risk.
While individuals can stop wide-scale data breaches, individuals can take simple steps to protect their own financial stability. The FBI proposes the following tips:
- Watch for phishing attempts— where a fraudster may send an e-mail or contact you online. The individual tries to appear legitimate—perhaps using a logo from a recognized bank or a real-looking website, and asks for a large amount of personal information.
- Pay attention to how you discard credit card offers or mail with personal information on it. This mail should be shredded, not just thrown in the trash or recycling. You can ask to quit receiving credit card and insurance offers all together by going to www.optoutprescreen.com.
- Watch your credit card bills, utility bills and bank statements for unusual transactions.
- Enable security functions on your phone and computer—especially if you have passwords stored or apps that link to your financial institutions.
- Be careful when using a public wifi system and consider using a virtual private network when you can.
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal info, whether online, by e-mail, by phone, or in person.