Getting ready to enroll in Medicare? AARP’s Medicare Made Easy has the resources you need to help you make the right choices.

Question

 What's some advice for protecting your identity online?

 

Answers

  • Never give your Social Security number, phone number, where you reside, or bank information.
  • Make sure you create your personal Social Security Account with the the Social Security Administration, even though you may not be drawing Social Security checks yet (each SS# can create only one, and by you creating one then scammers cannot use your SS# to create one & steal your money). Put a credit lock on yourself with the three major credit bureaus and remember to put the “unlock” code in a very safe place.
  • Enroll in a good identity theft monitoring service that includes the black web, and provides you with access to monthly credit reports and FICO scores.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has excellent information on their website about protecting your identity and your children's identity
  • Closely monitor your financial accounts. 
  • Create strong passwords, and change them at least quarterly. Use different passwords for different sites. Keep your passwords private. Mix up the characters so that there are no distinguishable words and use/subscribe to a password app/service such as Dashlane or 1Password or Lastpass, so that you don't have to worry about memorizing your password and more importantly, so it will make the process of creating complex passwords more convenient and safe for you, since you won't have to memorize them, or write them down! Never write them down anywhere. Password apps like these have counterpart apps for your phone, Mac or PC, so they'll be accessible and encrypted where ever you go.
  • Shred any snail mail that you receive before tossing it.
  • Protect your web access at home. Learn about protecting your home network. In a nutshell, try to turn off the broadcast to your routers SSID or network name. Set up encryption for your network and password protect access to it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's not a good thing. Talk to an expert or research to learn more.
  • Don't open Emails you do not recognize. These are often physhing exercises. Have security software on but know hackers can break through. 
  • Add NOMOROBO.com if it's available with your phone system, it's free for many land lines.
  • Avoid responding with confidential information when using a public/ guest hotspot.
  • If you do need to access the internet while out and about, use Virtual Private Network (VPN) software or better yet, a VPN device to encrypt your public Wifi session. Or at the very least, use your phone or tablet and connect over your cellular account to surf the web instead of using Wifi.

 

Learn from the personal experiences of others:

 

Last week I got a call from "Social Security" stating there were some type of fraud going on, I looked at the number they used to call me and then I began asking questions like - who are you and what is your name? I also said this is "Social Security" correct and he said yes, he then asked me for my social security number to verify if it is me. I then said to him if you were "Social Security" you would already know my number and then he hung up. Always get a name and their number and hang up. And then you can Google the information to find out if it's fraud.

 

I was a victim of fraud many years ago, so I have first hand experience unfortunately. Locking your credit won't protect you online, but it is an identity issue that could result if you do not take seriously, steps that will reduce your chances of having your identify stolen because of online internet access. To help minimize your exposure. Protect your computer and web experience. There are quite few in the marketplace. Most of the good ones require a monthly or yearly subscription. The important thing is, there are many ways for you to get hacked when accessing the web, and online security is like a service. The more you scrimp, the more you increase your chances of being hacked. Go with nothing and your risking a lot. A tool such as this will reduce the chances of vulnerability. 

Comments

A second bit of advice is "don't give personal information in all those test games."  

 

The fun games and quizzes usually have two basic motives:  to draw you to a web page (where they get paid by advertisers for the number of people landing on that page) or to find out information about you.  There's certain types of information that people use in setting up passwords and accounts that can be revealed by these quizzes.

 

Examples of things you should lie about:

  • Your mother's name
  • The name of the street where you lived
  • Name of ANY street where you lived (this is usually a security question)
  • Name of a pet (this is often used as a password)
  • Birthdate
  • Spouse's name

Most quizzes are for fun and are relatively harmless (like the "personality tests") - someone is getting you to click through pages so they can make money from their advertisers.  But be aware that behind the "fun and games", someone usually means business.

If you don't believe identity theft is a serious and pervasive issue, this week alone I received two telephone calls from people claiming to be calling from and working for Medicare. They had my name, address and date of birth and asked me to confirm the information and provide them with my medicare identification number so they could send me a new Medicare card. 

 

I never give out personal information over the phone and had already received my new Medicare card, so dealing with them was as easy as hanging up. I am, however, very concerned about the amount of information the callers already had about me. Here is a link for a report about the scams. https://money.cnn.com/2018/04/09/news/economy/medicare-card-scam/index.html

 

Do you all remember when the media reported the data breach at Equifax? The story ran for a while and then disappeared. More than 146 million people affected by a massive theft of personal information, and I never heard anything from Equifax. Maybe I was one of the lucky ones whose data was not stolen, but these recent phone calls about Medicare have me wondering. 

 

Bottom line, protect your personal information because no one else seems to be doing it for us.

Well in today's generation,online data theft and hiding identity is very difficult.But its very much necessary.Some basic things u can do is never ever share your personal number unless and until u don't know that person personally.Never ever share your address unless and until u know that person.And most important yet most ignored fact never ever share number of your important documents even to your friends online.There are many instances of fraud and u have to learn from it.Regards

Hate to state the obvious that no one seems to think of delete and overwrite all information on any and all data storage devices before disposing of them.

 

That means your hard drives, memory sticks, ext. hard drives, cd-rims, etc.

 

And not merely one overwritings, multiple rewriting for effective non-recovery of your device.

 

It’s amazing the amount of crap that most computer users leave on disposed of equipment from dump or trade-ins with no though of how they could be used.

 

My first inkling came from a local bank, identity theft anyone.

Names, account numbers , social security, etc for 200,000 customers on a R.A.I.D. Or network back-up device.

 

More information is available on the following website. The bank I ended up scrubbing all information from for several years.🤣 Cost me $100 bucks for their old drives, recovered everything in 15 minutes, using a CD and generic recovery software on an old XP computer.

 

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/03/15/you-left-what-on-that-usb-drive/

 

Froze

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