The federal government has warned business leaders to be ready for inevitable cyberattacks during the Christmas and New Year period.  Many times in recent years, major cyberattacks and data breaches occurred over the holidays when businesses, government agencies and individuals are not paying as much attention to cybersecurity as they should be.  According to the National  Cyber Director Chris Inglis, “Historically we have seen breaches around national holidays because criminals know that security operations centers are often short-staffed , delaying the discovery of intrusions.”

As I have reminded you many times, we are only as safe and secure as the security of the companies, government agencies and websites that have our personal information.  So even if you are extremely diligent in protecting your personal information, you can be in danger of identity theft and scams if your personal information falls into the hands of hackers.

So what can you do to protect yourself from these data breaches that will be occurring?

TIPS

One important lesson is to limit the amount of personal information that you provide to companies and websites whenever possible.  For example, your doctor doesn’t need your Social Security number for his or her records.

You should make sure that you have a unique password for each of your online accounts so that if one of your passwords is compromised in a data breach, all of your accounts will not be in danger.  If your information is compromised in a data breach, you should immediately change the password for that account.

If you have not already done so, set up dual factor authentication for each of you accounts where it is available. This will protect you from having those accounts stolen by someone who may have access to your password.

Freezing your credit is something everyone should do.  It is free and easy to do.  In addition, it protects you from someone using your identity to obtain loans or make large purchases even if they have your Social Security number.  If you have not already done so, put a credit freeze on your credit reports at all of the major credit reporting agencies.  Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:

https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Even after freezing your credit reports, you should still regularly monitor them to look for indications of identity theft.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/