As you’re gearing up for Spring Cleaning, don’t forget to tidy up files, accounts and mobile devices to safeguard your finances and your identity. Here are some timely Spring Cleaning tips from the experts at Experian’s ProtectMyID (www.protectmyid.com). Below are a few of their tips. Remember you can not listen to the experts and just think everything will be ok. That is what the people of Target and Michaels thoughts and now they have had security breaches. Just think if you take these steps to protect yourself even more how much better off you will be in the long run.
Shed, shred, shred. Spring Cleaning creates a good opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need, including old documents. But don’t just throw them away; shred sensitive personal documents you don’t need to keep.
As Seasons Change, So Should Passwords. Passwords are an important part of your identity in the digital age. How well you protect them directly affects your ability to protect your identity. We recommend changing passwords with the change of every season. Strong passwords have at least eight characters, including numerals, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. They should never be obvious – like part of your name or your mother’s maiden name – and you should have a different password for every account.
Clean out your wallet. What you don´t carry in your wallet or purse is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet and if any of your identification cards from a school, library or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one.
Protect your phone. Your phone allows access to important information and accounts. Be sure to activate a few safety features on your phone. For starters, set your phone to lock automatically after just a few minutes of inactivity. You’ll also want to establish a password or PIN that’s needed to unlock the device. Then enable remote finding and wiping software that will help you track your phone if it’s missing and, in the worst case scenario, wipe all of the data from it if it looks like it’s gone for good.
Streamline your social networking. In this age of social media, it’s not uncommon for people to have hundreds of online “friends” on any given social site. Keep in mind that on many social media sites, accepting a connection request gives that individual access to all the information in your profile. Keep profile information minimal and general, and never accept a friend request from someone you don’t actually know.