[ ] Regularly pull FREE credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. To have year-round awareness, pull Equifax in January, Transunion in May and Experian in September... Have you pulled your Equifax report this month?
[ ] Add security software to your computer, preventing illegal access to your network and computer. Purchase anti-virus software and install a firewall. When security levels are set at their highest, proper software can provide protection from spyware, adware, worms, Trojan viruses and hackers. Plus, always keep your operating system software updated.
[ ] Carefully guard your online logins, passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). Use unique passwords whenever you can, and change those passwords regularly, making sure you don't use the same password in multiple places. Finally, do not set your computer to "remember my password" or have it preset in your system.
[ ] Look for the https at the beginning of website URLs before submitting personal information. Seeing the https beginning signifies a secure site, which means your personal data is kept secure as it's transmitted across the Internet.
[ ] Do not carry your social security card in your wallet. In fact, your social security card, birth certificate and other certified documents should be kept in a high-security location, like a safety deposit box or fire- and flood-proof safe.
[ ] Carefully guard your credit and debit cards. Do not regularly carry in your wallet any credit or debit cards that are not used on a frequent basis. For those cards you do elect to carry, keep photocopies of each card's front and back in a secure location. Do not write your personal identification number on the back of any cards. Instead of signing the back of each card, write "Check photo ID" in the signature block. Review monthly statements closely, looking for anything that looks irregular or that you don't recognize. Finally, opt out of pre-approved offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
[ ] If regular bills don't show up when you know they should, follow-up with the company. This may be a sign that someone has stolen pieces of mail from your mailbox. Likewise, when you reorder checks, arrange to pick them up at the bank instead of having them mailed directly to you, eliminating the chance of them being taken out of your mailbox.
[ ] Always be aware of protecting your general safety and security. Take precautions with wireless networks, especially those publicly available. Shred whatever paperwork is being discarded that might include personal information.
What steps do you take to protect your identity with all of today's challenges? What can you do TODAY to start making a difference?