Besides being the gateway to the Thanksgiving season, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. At home and at work our growing dependence on technology requires greater awareness and action plans to protect against online risks.
I distinctly remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when I was recently discovered a thief had obtained personal information and made purchases on my credit card. I was routinely reviewing the statement and I did not expect to see anything out of the ordinary and then boom – there it was. Several unidentifiable transactions right in front of my eyes.
Identity theft can occur anywhere and anytime.
Here are some practical suggestions to help you keep cyber security top of mind:
- Review your credit report periodically to be on the lookout for fraudulent activity. Free credit reports from each of the three major bureaus (staggered quarterly for year-round monitoring) are available annually at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Fee-based services are available for a cost to provide convenience for those who don’t want to personally monitor their information.
- Monitor bank and credit card accounts at least weekly.
- Be vigilant about keeping sensitive information from prying eyes in public places.
- If you file taxes electronically – review the security policy with your tax preparer.
- Stop hackers by using strong passwords.
Here are some additional resources to help protect you against identity theft:
- Visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect to access cyber awareness information provided by the Department of Homeland Security
- Protect Yourself against Identity Theft - Click here to download the Forefield Article PDF
- Listen to Raymond James global privacy manager Denise Watson talk about cyber security at www.raymondjames.com/commentary/Watson.htm
Spending a little time to protect your information can help you avoid all of the hassle of being a victim. If you’d like more help, feel free to contact your Center Planner.
Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.