Our world continues to interconnect digitally. We regularly communicate, work, shop, research and store information in cyberspace. As cyber criminals and bad actors are becoming more refined in navigating through cyberspace, it is important to actively keep your information secure online.
Personally identifiable information is any information that can be used to identify a specific person. This information ranges from medical, legal, educational and financial records. Identifiable information can be stolen during a cyber breach, which can lead to identity theft.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, here are five steps you can take to protect your personal information:
- Place an Initial Fraud Alert: By placing a fraud alert on your file with one credit bureau, you are placing a fraud alert on your file for all credit bureaus. Initial fraud alerts are free and last 90 days with the option to renew.
- Review Your Identity Portfolio: Check your credit reports, bank statements, and other financial documents for suspicious behavior. You are entitled to an annual free credit report from each credit bureau.
- Report the Identity Theft to Authorities: If your personal information has been stolen, file an Identity Theft Report and recovery plan with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov. Additionally, you should file a report with your local police.
- Contact Companies Where Fraud Took Place: Take note of where fraud took place in your report. Inform the fraud departments of those businesses that your identity was stolen and freeze any accounts you have with them.
- Change Your Passwords: Strong passwords are essential to maintaining secure information online. When you are changing your passwords or PIN numbers, do not reuse any that you have used in the past.
Technology offers a lot of efficient and helpful platforms to get our jobs done and store our information, but as users, we must be proactive in protecting our personal information.
Download more tips on Protecting Your Personal Information.
Bobbie Goldie is Senior Vice President for Chubb’s Financial Lines division. She frequently speaks at industry conferences and seminars, sharing insight on cyber security.