Quite recently, big names like Google, Facebook and Experian were forced into the unenviable position of admitting data breaches that possibly compromised the accounts of their clientele. Add on the fact that there were thousands of data breaches last year and it quickly becomes evident that people everywhere should be proactive by setting up their accounts in preparation for being hacked.
Passwords! Most Important
The most vital step to this is in creating stronger passwords. Passwords that can be easily guessed, use the name, birthdays, or wedding anniversary of the user are certainly worthless.
Nor should a single password be used for logging into everything under the sun. If remembering lots of different passwords is hard, it might be best to make use of a top-flight password manager.
Keep a Regular check on your financial data
The next step involves thoroughly checking personal bank statements and credit reports for things that are out of order. If anything seen hints at the fraudulent activity, contact your bank or creditor at the speed of light.
Freeze credit reports
Next, it is recommended to freeze credit reports at any of the 3 chief credit bureaus in existence: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. That way, no one can get a credit report on your account without your approval. Unfreezing these is easy, as you will be issued a unique PIN or password beforehand.
Don’t fall prey to fraudulent calls
If there are accounts that feature two-factor authentication, this provision must be turned on, as it provides an extra layer of security. As well, beware of calls, emails and texts from people who claim to be staffs of the brokerage, bank, etc whose services you enjoy. These fellas might be armed with such personal information as your Social Security Number, sound all professional and inform you that your PIN or password needs changing. This is however invariably a scam, a well-worn one that you should not fall for.
If you actually get a text that requires action, call the bank concerned and speak to the actual staff. Should you get a call, hang up and call the bank back, no matter what. More, if you were to get calls from someone claiming to be from a governmental agency such as the IRS and threatening you with fines and jail times for some infraction, ignore it, as the objective is to panic, scam and fleece you.
Personal Details like Social Security Numbers should not be disclosed to just anybody
Moreover, keep in mind that personal information such as Social Security Numbers is not to be disclosed to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks for it. If such personal information is required and you feel unsure of the necessity, in the absence of a proven need do not provide it.
Last but not least, set reminders to ensure that you check your credit reports quarterly from now on. It might also be worth it to subscribe to a credit monitoring service.
Overall, be sure to act as if your service or account will be hacked sooner or later. To lessen the risks of this, make use of strong passwords, give your personal information only to those truly deserving of it, and set up two-factor authentication in accounts that permit it. As well, keep a sharp lookout on third-party sites like top bingo sites that require your financial data.
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