Everyone knows the value of working with a company that has great security. After all, everyone wants their personal information to be protected by the companies they trust. No one should have to worry about the threat of identity fraud when they give a business their personal information. However, it's important to practice this kind of security within your own home as well.
By going through sensitive paper documents in your home office as well sifting through the things you do on your home computer, it's possible for people and hackers to breach your security and access sensitive information. Practicing caution in these areas is just as important in your house as it is when you work with a business. Below are some top tips on how you can protect yourself against identity fraud at home.
1. Strong Passwords
It's vital that you utilize strong passwords on everything. From your computer to your online accounts, using strong passwords and two-factor identification can help protect you against fraud.
Forming a strong password relies on utilizing a mixture of numbers, letters, and special characters that wouldn't be obvious to others. Using something like your own birthday or your last name could be easy to guess, so it's best to pick something that isn't public knowledge. Hacking is becoming more and more sophisticated these days, so using strong passwords and then changing them regularly is a good form of defense.
2. Use a Secure Paper Shredder
If you have a home office where you deal with sensitive paperwork, a secure paper shredder can be helpful in keeping them out of the hands of thieves. High security paper shredders will shred papers into smaller pieces and make them virtually impossible to piece together. This means that any sensitive documents you are throwing away will be safe from identity thieves who might try to use them. Throwing out whole documents containing important personal information is common but this enables people to simply take the information straight from your trash. Commercial paper shredders can be used at home for a variety of shredding purposes, including junk mail, cleaning up your old filing cabinet, and securing medical records. In many cases, it can often be written off as a work expense if you work from home.
3. Monitor Your Accounts
Keeping a close eye on your bank accounts and any online accounts that contain sensitive information can help you catch identity theft in its tracks. Unusual activity that you're not aware of is often a sign that someone has breached your account. It's essential that you take the necessary security measures as soon as you notice an abnormality in your account. Generally, if it's your bank account at stake, your bank will allow you to file a dispute for charges you didn't make and shut down any cards that are being used by the thief.
4. Follow Your Gut
There are all kinds of online scams these days that try to get you to give over personal information. It's best to follow your gut if you feel that something isn't right. Don't just give over all of your information to an email or ad that you're not sure is legitimate. A good way to check for fraudulent emails is paying attention the sender's email, the content of the email itself, and by calling the actual business to see if they are sending out these types of emails. Common signs that an email is a fraudster include poor grammar, a redirect link, a suspicious sender email, or lack of confirmation from the actual business that will warn you.
Staying safe from fraud at home is possible with the help of secure paper shredders and regular vigilance online. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so don't be afraid to second guess an unusual email, change your password, or shred any documents that you feel could be used for fraud.