Another massive data breach is in the headlines. This one follows on the heels of other high profile data breaches involving Target, eBay, Michael's, Mozilla, PF Chang's and many more.
Since data security is the responsibility of individual merchants and websites, there's not much that you as a consumer can do to prevent data breaches from occurring. However, you can take steps to prevent your identity from being compromised.
BBB urges you to make identity theft protection a routine priority. You should be proactive and vigilant to minimize the risk of identity theft for every member of your family by:
- using strong passwords
- changing your passwords frequently
- not using the same password for every online account or website
- monitoring your banking and credit card accounts frequently, if not daily
- setting up automatic activity alerts on banking and credit card accounts so that you are notified every time a transaction is made
- setting up alerts on your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies
- checking your credit reports and your children's credit reports for unauthorized activity. You can get one free credit report per person at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- being careful about the types of information that you disclose online
- discussing identity theft and online security with every member of your family who uses the Internet, from the youngest to the oldest.
- having anti-virus software on every computer that you and your family use and scanning it for viruses frequently
By taking these steps, you may be able to detect unauthorized activity earlier so that you can minimize the damage that identity theft can do.
For more information about protecting your identity, please visit www.bbb.org.