Identity theft is a fast-growing problem, with multiple, large companies being victimized by major data breaches in the past year – and the pace is accelerating. More than 200 million data records were stolen in just the first quarter of 2014, according to research by SafeNet. One in three people who are victims of data breaches will quickly become victims of fraud, found Javelin Strategy and Research.
“Data breaches continue to be a pervasive problem in the digital age, and we expect that trend to continue,” said Scott Mitic, Senior Vice President at Equifax. “Our tendency to share personal information online leaves that information vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves.”
Whether viewing this information via computer, tablet or smartphone, your use of modern-day technologies increases your risk for identity theft. Equifax advises consumers to protect themselves by following these tips.
- Make sure your security software is updated on both your computer and smartphone. Free solutions are available from reputable sources.
- Keep your phone locked with an access code. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Download the latest software updates for your device to fix security holes.
- Be on the lookout for email scams.
- Keep your social media accounts private and don’t share common identifying information like your mother’s maiden name or your birth date.
- Use unique and complex passwords.
- After a data breach, change your passwords, place a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies, close affected accounts and monitor your credit report.
“As we go about our daily lives, it can be easy to forget how the technology we use every day can makes us the target of identity thieves,” said Mitic. “But by arming yourself with knowledge and the right techniques, you can help protect your personal information.”
Source: Equifax Inc.