9 Ways To Better Protect Your Privacy Against Fraud And Scams

This wondrous ecosystem allows us to send and receive data to and from each other with greater control and efficiency at home and work. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we may be more vulnerable to all different kinds of fraud.

All this pervasive interconnection requires our private information: names, birthdates, addresses, online login, passwords, account information, bank account numbers, mother’s maiden name, health information,  and often our social security numbers. We share a lot of our information too freely, even genetic information we received from Ancestry.com and 23andMe.

Why should we care about privacy? Of course, it is not news that we share a lot of information. We have increased our awareness of the need to be more private even in the midst of marked security improvements. Identity theft in the US was highest in 2012 at $21.8 billion, dropped to nearly $17 billion in 2017 according to Javelin Strategy.

Safely dispose of your personal information.

Use a paper shredder or wipe your computer hard drive. Find ways to delete all your information from smart phone and remove your SIM card. To be honest, I keep all my old electronic devices.

Don’t use public wifi.

 This is a recent change for our family. I always used Starbucks’s wifi  when I literally lived at my local place when studying for the bar (to practice law).  I have also encouraged my kids to use the public wifi rather than drive up our data bill.

Don’t believe your caller ID as it easy for scammers to fake names and numbers.

I once picked up my house phone because I recognized my own cell number. I hung up that baby so fast that I almost broke my phone.

Consider how you pay

While credit cards have significant fraud protection when detected, wiring money is among the worse methods you can use according to the latest FTC report. If you are using Western Union or MoneyGram,  be aware that you can’t get your money back.

Keep your passwords private.

 Young people tend to overshare everything including their smartphones, and often will provide friends their passwords. Change passwords often and use strong passwords.

Don’t carry your social security number in your wallet or on you.

 This seems obvious but also don’t carry any private information that may contain your social security number which can be on many different kinds of documents, such as credit card applications, bank applications, your health plan.

Take outgoing mail to the post office or to post office collection boxes.

As a kid, I remember what those boxes for. Well they are back in style again. There is too much of our private information in those letters. Do more correspondence online.

Our privacy is costly when we lose it. We have a lot of freedom in our lives and benefit greatly from the wondrous interconnected digital world we live in but we need to protect all we have. If and when we are violated, we are robbed monetarily, we lose trust and we lose our piece of mind. Our job is to be aware, be more protective and continue freely and well.