Preventing Identity Theft
Wednesday, November 1, 2018
Don’t let someone borrow your SSN card (once info is lost it’s lost for good)
Always get a paper copy of any legal documents for your record
Get phone numbers and names of who you do business with
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That is if you lose your wallet you still have money elsewhere.
Don’t keep things in too many places though because if something gets breached you know if you lost data or not.
Don’t download apps that don’t have a lot of good reviews or ratings.
Check app permissions before downloading.
Enable 2FA on apps if you can so that it’s not as easily breachable.
Beware of social engineering. It’s very easy to be tricked into clicking a link that installs or hijacks a browser or program on your phone or computer.
Have a separate computer that you use that doesn’t access games and software and other things that can could compromise your system.
If you have a system that is single use only such as just to type word documents then disable all other apps and programs and connections and open ports to prevent data intrusion. This allows that computer to be separated from the network. Also remove unused hardware ports. It may be a good idea to also have some type of chassis intrusion detection enabled in the BIOS on some computers.
Don’t work under Administrator or root. Use a basic account and then elevate privileges to Administrator or superuser as necessary. Then ask yourself if the elevated permissions are really necessary.
Have data backups regularly and keep them on various types of media.
Burn or destroy and break any device that no longer should be accessed.
Shred papers or wet pulverize or burn any documents and records that should not be used.
Have a security policy and backup plan for your business.
Beware of scam calls and fake phone calls that try to obtain information or solicit information from you immediately over phone.
Check for any mistakes on your financial statements including bank, credit card or other statements. Check for mistakes on your medical and health care benefits.
Close any accounts you no longer use.
Inquire about any bills or collection notices you get or calls.
Make sure to follow up with any important notices received. It is often odd I see people that don’t open their own mail or wait to respond.
Have some back up representative or person to handle things and affairs if you are incapacitated and a back up for that person. Have multiple copies of the POA.
If you get an odd notice and never been married or no kids or turned down for loans and jobs then you might need to check to see if ID is compromised.
Make sure to check your items monthly and credit reports every 12 months.
Don’t respond to all the texts, phone messages and emails. Some are scammers.
Use the most complex password you can. Mix in letters, numbers, characters, passphrases. Don’t reuse passwords for multiple accounts even if it is tempting because it can open you up to being more easily compromised.
Use secure encrypted websites that look like https://
Be careful of public WiFi and unencrypted unsecured connections. Don’t just connect to any connection because some may be a fake public WiFi hotspot.
Consider using spyware, firewalls, antivirus and malware protection. They used to do virus codes but now have to use heuristics to keep up. Use spam filters. Don’t just click any link. In certain programs if you click a link it may disable a security feature you have enabled in another app.
Update your system security periodically.
Consider a credit freeze so no one else can access your records to open up an account.
Put deterrents around your house and vehicle. Something like a guard dog or an anti-theft device in your car can deter.
Consider decoys. If you think that your stuff could be compromised then a decoy can keep the most important things at bay so that the big goose egg is overlooked.
Consider a waterproof or fireproof safe in your house to keep valuables.
Use what spoofers use.???? If a person can impersonate you consider using a similar technique when first getting in contact with someone so that they don’t have your real contact information. ????????????
On dating sites don’t give out #’s AND especially not until you’ve talked to them first.
Hang up. If there’s someone or something that makes you uncomfortable hang up. Report anything if you have to.
Do a reverse look up to see if a number has had complaints or is legitimate or has been blocked many times.
Don’t leave sensitive information in voicemail or through email. Sometimes it’s better to tell them via call or in person.
Consider how you receive information. Some might like getting financials through e-statements but some prefer paper. Consider a few things like whether your mailbox is secure or not Or if your email has been hacked.
Change your password periodically.
If your email has been hacked you may need a new one if the hack is extremely bad.
Keep important things in your possession like laptops out of sight or hidden. Keep them next to you at airport with a strap.
Encrypt conversations and then delete them if you longer need them.
Be careful of you location and camera and microphone access in your app. You may want to disable till you use the app or need it. Some laptops you can put black tape over a camera.
Unplug or decommission a device that is outdated or can no longer provide proper protection or security.
Use physical security like cable locks through laptops. Don’t let random people into your hotel rooms. Use deadbolts and safes with multiple lock systems such as keys and combination.
Make sure your cables are thick enough so no one can get shears or cable cutters to break them off.
Put phone cases on your phone and glass protection. Device does you no good if it breaks.
Consider adding a lock code or lock app on your phone.
Be careful of leaving oils on your phone when you do a swipe pattern that someone can see.
When you unlock your phone don’t let anyone else see your pass or don’t have it show the latest character.
Disable data, WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC if you don’t need it on your phone.
Don’t have USB debugging enabled by default on your phone.
Recognize the normal behavior on your phone and notice if it gets hot or acts erratically or weird pop ups or ads or noises after updates. Remove any programs that cause weird behavior it didn’t before. Find an alternative program. For example your phone may have installed a crypto mining program without your knowledge and hogging resources.
If you start getting calls or texts then your app may be leaking info from your sim or info about your phone.
Be careful of overcharging you phone because it makes your phone less efficient and if you have to kill your phone you could introduce system instability.
Same thing with Windows. Try to do a normal shutdown without killing the power if possible.
Try not to wear out the cables and connectors on your device.
Try to use features included on some devices. For example, you can use a Knock code to awaken a device without having physical buttons you touch and press that can wear out usage on your phone.
Know where you store your microSD cards.
Have a backup OS or live file system you can use in case your system does go down and that way you will only be minimally inconvenienced instead of losing all your data at once.
Be careful of upgrades or patches that install spyware or ads in your browser or tool add-ons. They may slow down or make your system have odd behavior.
Try to redact or cross out or white out any personal identifiable information if you have to give someone a copy.
Do research on companies to determine if they are reputable.
Don’t open attachments if you don’t know they are from.
Encrypt your sensitive files.
Teach family about proper computing safety habits.