Enhancing Your Identity Protection in Today's Digital World

Enhancing Your Identity Protection in Today's Digital World

April 29, 2024

There isn't a week that goes by when you don't read about some data breach. Safeguarding your personal information starts with understanding cybersecurity risks, knowing what to look for, and doing everything you can to help protect yourself.

While businesses, law enforcement, and legislators contend with identity theft, some of the most effective methods to help manage your personal information are in your own hands. There are no-tech, low-tech, and high-tech ways to help address your vulnerabilities.

No-Tech:

The Federal Trade Commission reports that physical documents still account for over half of all identity theft cases. You can help manage this risk by taking a few simple actions, such as shredding sensitive documents, registering for United States Postal Service Informed Delivery, going paperless, and not storing sensitive information in your wallet or purse.

Low-Tech:

Phishing attacks, which can come in various forms, such as email phishing, malware phishing, spear phishing, smishing, and vishing, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Being cautious about email display names, checking for typos and poor grammar, being wary of threats or urgency, and being skeptical of text messages from unknown senders can help you avoid falling victim to these scams.

High-Tech:

In our high-tech world, vulnerabilities often come from smartphone apps and Wi-Fi. Paying attention to apps that access personal data, password-protecting your smartphone, using a virtual private network (VPN) when in public, and being mindful about sharing your location can help manage these risks.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps have become increasingly popular but can open users up to fraud. To protect against P2P scams, keep transactions private, secure your account with a strong password, and always remember to sign out or close the app after use.

The best defense is a good offense.

Taking proactive steps like using multi-factor authentication (MFA) and monitoring or freezing your credit can help enhance your identity protection. Freezing your credit may help prevent fraud because it prevents new lines of credit from being opened without your permission.

Create, manage, and store strong passwords.

Consider using a password manager. Password managers store and organize your passwords with secure digital encryption and MFA. Some browsers have built-in password managers that are free to use. There are also many password managers you can subscribe to, with a variety of features and benefits. NordPass, 1Password, RoboForm, Keeper, and Bitdefender are the most popular, according to a 2024 report from Cybernews.com.

The risks of identity theft are increasing, and individual diligence is paramount. We encourage you to consider adopting some of these strategies and taking action to protect your personal information.

As your financial professional, we are here to help you navigate these challenges and provide guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We may have additional resources that can help.

This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm.