With a vast number of people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, identity theft has become an even more pressing concern for both companies and individuals. From protecting your Social Security Number to the steps you must take to safely navigate the internet, here’s how to avoid identity theft during these peculiar times.
Protect Your Social Security Number
Your Social Security number is one of the first pieces of information you should protect in order to avoid identity theft. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse and provide your Social Security number only to trusted institutions. It’s advisable to keep all important documents, including your Social Security card, in a safe place that only you can access.
Don’t Share Personal Information
Treat your personal information as highly confidential. Don’t share details such as your birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number just because someone asks for it. Even information that seems harmless (like your birthdate, for example), may be used by scammers to try to steal your identity.
Use a Firewall and Antivirus Software
A firewall is a device that offers protection by monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic on your computer. Antiviruses, on the other hand, are programs that provide real-time protection as you navigate the internet, alerting you about potential vulnerabilities and blocking dangerous websites. You may need the help of an expert to install both a firewall and an antivirus, but the enhanced protection is worth the effort.
Choose Difficult Passwords
Create complex passwords for your email or social media accounts or to set up online access to your bank account. If you don’t know what a safe password looks like, follow these guidelines:
- Your password should be long (ten characters at least).
- Combine letters, numbers and special characters (for example @, #, $, %)
- Avoid common substitutions (a classic example is “P455W0RD”)
- Avoid using sequences of keys that are close to each other on the keyboard (“QWERTY”, for example).
What to Do if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, visit identitytheft.gov, a resource managed by the Federal Trade Commission, to report the theft and get a recovery plan. You can also call them at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.
At Delgado’s Insurance our mission is to always deliver excellent service so you can rest easy knowing that we are here to help.
We offer insurance services in Riverside, California, and Bloomington, California. Contact us today by telephone (951-361-0084, 909-421-9003), email, or through our social media accounts for more information or to learn more about the services we offer.