Don’t Be a Cyber Crime Target

Don’t Be A Cyber Crime Target

Feel like you’re a walking target for cyber crime? Follow these tips and protect yourself.

Cyber crime, identity theft, we hear about it constantly.  But what are we doing to avoid becoming a target??

Basic rules I currently follow include:

  • Watch those links! Never click on a link in an email from a stranger.
  • Again watch those links! Friends’ email can be hacked; consider carefully before opening a link from them—if it looks suspicious text or call and question the link to verify it.
  • Know you’re a target.  Boomers, people our age, are often targeted by phone scams.  I’ve won cars and boats from a guy somewhere in the Caribbean.  What does he want?  My Social Security number.  That will never happen!
  • Guard your social.   Extremely few people need your social security number during phone transactions, so protect it like crazy.   I do have to reveal it when identifying myself as an authorized person on my mother’s bank account.
  • Ask the question.  If a form or someone in an office wants your social security number—ask them why!!
  • Protect yourself.  When dealing with people on the phone be alert and careful.  Don’t share any information with them that they don’t need.  You can never be too careful concerning who you are really talking to.

Frank Mokosak, a certified financial planner in West Des Moines, Iowa, offers the following preventive tips.  Such tips can act as a shield to protect you from becoming a target for identity theft and cyber crime.

  1. Beware of shoulder-surfers or hidden cameras at ATMs.  Tip: cover your hand with your other hand before putting in your PIN.
  2. Buy a good shredder and shred everything: credit card receipts (after checking them with your bill) bank and medical statements, and preapproved credit card offers.
  3. Monitor your credit accounts with care and precision.  If you have an unused account, close it out.
  4. Limit the numbers of credit cards you carry.
  5. Get a credit report at least once a year and clean up any errors.  (60 Minutes just did a report on how this can be very difficult to do, so keep an eye on your personal credit score.)
  6. Post at the post office paid bills with checks in them.  Don’t leave them in your personal mailbox.
  7. Moving? Contact all creditors and update them of address changes right away.  And be aware: if your credit card expires and you did not receive a new one, call the credit card company immediately.
  8. Again, only provide your social security number when absolutely necessary.  Don’t carry your SS card.  Don’t have it on your checks or driver’s license.  Don’t use it as an account number.
  9. NEVER give your bank account number, SS number, or credit card number to anyone soliciting over the phone.
  10. Shopping online??  Look for the Trust-e-symbol or a Better Business Bureau online seal.
  11. Make sure any online credit card charges are handled through a secure site or in an encrypted mode.  Look for https instead of http.
  12. Consider purchasing an identity theft protection insurance policy.

Got any other ideas to shield us from from cyber crime?  Share them in a comment on Boomer Highway.  None of us wants to be targets for identity theft or cyber crime.

Thanks to Frank Mokosak  He also suggests that you contact these major credit bureaus if you think you’ve been a victim of cyber crime: www.equifax.com; www.experian.com; www.transunion.com

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