Keeping your personal information private is one of the best ways to prevent fraud and identity theft. While ensuring your personal information online stays secure and private, it is important not to forget to protect yourself offline as well. Below are some tips to help keep your private information private. Should you have any questions or concerns, stop by the Public Safety Building to speak to an officer or call 781-259-8113.
- Buy a paper shredder. Shredding documents with personal information, old credit cards, and even junk mail is a great way to deter identity theft. Cross-cutting paper shredders turn paper into small squares of confetti and offer a more secure solution while strip-cutting shredders simply shred paper into long strips. Most shredders are also capable of destroying debit/credit cards and CDs.
- Don't sell your hard drive. If you decide to sell an old computer, scanner/copier, or even printer, either securely wipe the hard drive or do not sell it along with the electronic. Simply deleting a document from a computer doesn't mean the data is gone forever; various programs can recover deleted data easily. Most copiers, scanners, and printers also contain hard drives and retain data of what documents have passed through them and can be used for nefarious purposes.
- Keep your passwords private and secure. Most people use one password for more than one website for easy remembering, but sharing your password with someone for one site may inadvertently lead to private information being leaked. Additionally, using easily guessed passwords such as names, birthdays, or cities is not advisable; using either a string of random words and numbers, or letters and numbers is much more secure.
- Routinely monitor your credit score. Checking on your credit score often increases the chances of you spotting someone attempting to open an account in your name and stopping it before the situation worsens. There are a variety of companies that offer credit monitoring, including some banks and credit card companies. There are also free options should you decide to monitor your credit score on your own
- Beware of phishing attacks. Not all data theft is by hacking; sometimes victims unknowingly give up information on their own. Personal data can be obtained easily by creating 'fun' quizzes and surveys, or posts on social media asking you to name your old pet, high school, or where you're originally from; usually, the answers to common secondary security questions on most websites should you forget your password.