You’ve probably never asked your adult children and younger relatives whether they have security software on their computers and devices. Why would you? They’re digital natives, born with keyboards under their fingertips.
It may be time to ask.
In an unexpected twist, the best gift for some younger Americans this holiday season may be data protection software or services. A 2019 You.gov poll reported 35 percent of Americans, ages 18 to 34, think their data and personal information is ‘not very or not at all vulnerable’ to hackers.1
More than 60 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2018, a significant increase from 2015, where more than 15 million consumers were affected. With identity theft numbers on the rise, it certainly doesn’t appear likely that scammers are going away anytime soon. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to preventing identity theft, there are some things you can do to make it more difficult for scammers to obtain your personal information.
Here are a few of them:
Amp Up Your Passwords
Data breaches, once a fairly rare occurrence, have become more frequent as hackers become more skilled in their ability to extract personal data from popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And while we commonly hear about breaches from these large, global organizations, it’s important to remember that small businesses are just as likely to experience a data breach, meaning your information that is stored at you CPA’s office, your attorney’s office, or your local medical center can be vulnerable to a breach at any time.
Whether you own a house or rent an apartment, building a smart home is easier than it has ever been. Homeowners and renters can purchase kits that integrate specific smart items or they can select smart home products, such as light bulbs, crockpots, coffee makers, thermostats, vacuums, ovens, doorbells, mailboxes, window shades, and security cameras. After downloading the appropriate apps, anyone can connect everything together through a Wi-Fi network.1, 2
Take steps so criminals won't take vital information from you.
In light of recent security breaches at Facebook and Yahoo, it’s vital that we do a better job ensuring that our personal data remains hidden from criminals and hackers. In fact, Facebook and Yahoo were just two of the over 1,500 data breaches that occurred in 2017. During those data breaches, more than 14 million credit card numbers were exposed along with more than 150 million social security numbers. Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft, with over 133 thousand reports filed in 2017 alone.