The recent email breach that’s filling Inboxes with junk mail got a lot of attention, but there are dozens of other breaches that never top the headlines. The Identity Theft Resource Center analyzed the breaches through April, not including the most recent email breach, and found hacking accounts for the largest number of breaches. Almost 37% were due to malicious attacks on computer systems.
The ITRC points out consumers can’t do much to control these breaches. It’s up to the company safeguarding our information. We count on them to institute strong policies and hire trustworthy employees.
According to the ITRC, 53.6% of all breaches were business related. The following categories all saw drops in reported breaches: banking/credit/financial, educational, government/military, and medical/healthcare.
Since we can’t do much about these breaches, we need to be more selective in who we give our information. The email breach is a wakeup call to all of us. Good thing it was just our email that was stolen, and not something more sensitive that could wreak financial harm.
Tips to protect your identity:
1. Give your personal information only to people you trust
2. Don’t give your social security number (even to your doctor) unless it’s absolutely necessary
3. Check your annual credit report
4. Don’t forget about the other 9 consumer reports that you can obtain for free once a year
5. Erase your digital footprint by browsing privately and erasing cookies when your session is complete
6. Establish a secure connection (https) when you bank online or log into social networks like Facebook and Twitter
7. Don’t give personal information on your Facebook profile (address, phone number, and even complete date of birth)
8. Get rid of junk email
9. Get rid of junk mail
10. Shred everything and anything with your name, address, or other personal information on it