With so much digital information these days, we have to place a lot of emphasis on protecting ourselves- our names, our personal information, our passwords, logins, and so much more. If we don’t, our identities can be stolen- a terrifying thought! Especially right now, with people doing holiday shopping online and in store, we need to protect ourselves! I think we all know someone who’s had their online identity stolen. It’s a very, very scary thing.
Remember back in the day, when we used to hear about letters coming to people’s homes that were very convincing- and full of ways to steal someone’s money? Then it was phone calls. People called, gave sob stories, or tricked someone into giving personal information..and the media warned us about that. Well, now it’s the end of 2012 and we are 100% in the digital age. So those scammers who used to send those letters and call us on the phone are now finding new and creative ways to get our money, our credit, our very identity. Protecting ourselves from those folks means educating ourselves- paying attention, checking facts before sharing information, and finding ways to proactively defend ourselves from those scammers.
Some ways we can protect ourselves:
Strong, secure passwords: Use capital letters, lower case, numbers, and special characters. Don’t use the same password for everything.
Read Emails: If something sounds weird, or doesn’t seem quite right, check it out. Remember, valid, reputable companies want to protect your identity as well, so they won’t be asking for personal information in emails. When in doubt, if it’s a site you already use, open your browser, and login to the site that way. I also forward the emails to the company who’s name is mentioned in the emails.
Money: If a stranger asks you for money- well, it’s a stranger asking for money. When someone is fundraising for a race or event, for a cause, they’ll almost always have an official website and donation process set up, with receipts and everything, If they don’t, well, spend some time checking into it. Just because someone can write an emotion-evoking email to you asking for money doesn’t mean that they are telling the truth. It’s your money, and it’s your right to not only question things but to ignore, refuse and report.
Protection: Services like Lifelock. This is my latest step to protecting my identity. Lifelock offers 5 Points of Protection:
Monitoring- This begins instantly when you sign up with Lifelock. Instantly as in, within 5 minutes of my confirmation of membership, I had an email that they’d requested removal from preapproved credit card offers on my behalf. It also includes public records, and alternate names (which for me is good, since I have had 3 last names- my birth name, my stepfather’s last name, and my married name)
Scanning Lifelock monitors your information but also monitors other sites for those who may be selling your information
Responding Any attempt to misuse your information results in a call, email or text from Lifelock- and you have to either dismiss the alert by clicking the “green” button or confirm by clicking the red- or calling Lifelock directly.
Guarantee- Lifelock guarantees that they will spend up to $1 million dollars to help recover your identity if it is stolen while you are a member…. to hire experts, lawyers, investigators, consultants and whatever else it takes to help your recovery.
Tracking All 3 credit bureaus are monitored daily by Lifelock and you are notified of any changes.
So, this holiday season, maybe consider giving someone protection and peace of mind that will last the whole year. It’s a one size fits all kind of gift!
Sample was received to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own.