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Easy as password: Avoid identity theft online and off

Identify thieves are lurking around every corner of the physical and digital world. And it is our responsibility as consumers to make sure that we keep our financial and private information exclusive.

Dupaco aims to help its members keep their private information…well, private. Not only on Data Privacy day, January 28, but every day.

Cybersecurity is a growing concern of online users. From credit card numbers you enter when shopping online, to the photos you share on Facebook, it’s important to keep in mind of what you put out there. Once your private information (or any, for that matter) is in the digital world, it’s up for grabs, and often impossible to permanently delete.

Keeping your private information out of the wrong hands may seem like a tedious task. However, these practical tips can keep you one step ahead of fraudsters:

  • Destroy it – Are you guilty of throwing your monthly statements and bills straight into the trash or recycle? Opt for shredding instead. ID thieves can, and will, dig through trash to find documents that contain personal information. This can be something as simple as your grocery store receipt. Be sure to get a cross-cut shredder as opposed to a strip-cut as ID thieves can still tape strip-cut shredded material together. Most shredders can be purchased at your local office supply store for a small cost. If you have a fireplace in your home, financial documents make for good tinder, and there isn’t a trace of them left over.
  • Don’t share your Social – Your Social Security Number (SSN) should be treated like the personal ID number it is. If you should need to provide your SSN, be sure to find out why it is needed. Never give it out over the phone or by e-mail in response to an unsolicited request.
  • Choose strong passwords – A strong password is something that is commonly overlooked. Many people pick something that is easy to remember, such as a pet’s name or one of the Huffington Post’s most-used passwords of 2015. Instead, craft a password that uses at least one number and one special symbol. If you need ideas, check out this strong password generator and tweak the suggestions they give you. Additionally, while keeping passwords consistent is easy for our memory, it’s not wise. Steve Ervolino, Dupaco’s Chief Information Officer, advises to not to use the same login information to access online banking as you would to shop online.
  • What goes online stays online – Social media is one of the biggest places for people to come together and share information. But at what point are you sharing too much information? Check out this social media privacy infographic to see just how vulnerable your social media profile information is.
  • Put safeguards in place – Signing up for account alerts is a smart choice. Dupaco eNotifiers notify you of every transaction that is made on your account. If you get an alert of a transaction that you know you did not make, you can call Dupaco and get the account blocked before further damage is done.

For other data privacy tips, be sure to check out Dupaco’s ID Theft Webinar.

By Melissa Kuhl

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