Is a TURKEY in Charge of your Data Security?
When it comes to keeping you safe, experts rarely recommend putting a turkey in charge—whether it’s the human kind or the bird! But this Thanksgiving week, the Identity Theft Resource Center wants you to remember that a turkey can make all the difference.
T is for Trusted Websites
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who will be doing some online shopping or booking your December travel this weekend, make sure you’re only visiting trusted websites to find your bargains. Scammers advertise the “hot toy” of the holiday season then never deliver or offer too-good-to-be-true holiday getaways, but they’re really taking your money and your payment information in the process.
U is for URLs
No matter what you’re looking for online, check the URL first. That’s the web address at the top that starts with “HTTP.” If you’re shopping or inputting any sensitive personal information, make sure it says HTTPS, which is the official designation of a Secure website.
R is for Resetting your Password
All throughout the year, but especially when cybercriminals know there will be more web traffic, it’s a good idea to reset your password from time to time. Don't wait until a breach happens and all your accounts are exposed after you reused your passwords. Log into your sensitive accounts (like banking, credit cards, retailers) and change your password to a brand-new, strong, and unique option.
K is for Keep those Documents and Mail Locked Up
No one wants to think that a friend or family member would hurt them, but a significant amount of identity theft cases are perpetrated by someone close to the victim; this is especially true in cases of child identity theft. Before your visitors show up this holiday, make sure your family’s personal documents are safely secured. When you’re throwing away all your accumulated mail, make sure things like credit card offers, health insurance statements, and other potentially useful items are fully destroyed before you discard.
E is for Everyone Is a Link in the Chain
Too often, we think of cybersecurity as the IT guy’s problem at work or the grown-ups’ concern at home. The truth is, anyone can be the weak link that invites a cybercriminal into your system.. Make sure your workplace is secured with ongoing employee training on the latest threats and hacking tactics like ransomware attacks, and be sure to have important talks with your family about good computer use habits. If you’re spending time with relatives this week, this is a good time to point older family members to resources that can help them avoid scams and computer crimes.
Y is for You CAN Reduce your Risk
Too often, news of identity theft and large-scale data breaches can make us feel like it’s just an inevitable part of digital life. In fact, there’s actually an expression for the feeling that you can’t avoid being a victim and therefore shouldn’t even bother fighting back—data breach fatigue. While no one can be solely responsible for keeping a hacker out of their computers or devices, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk; most of these things are just simple steps that make you less of a viable target:
- Strong, unique passwords that you change regularly
- Good email and text habits for ignoring links or attachments
- Safe social media behavior, including privacy settings and avoiding oversharing
- Being on guard when it comes to scams and fraud, especially ones that require you to pay with an untraceable payment method
- Shredding important documents before discarding them
- Staying up-to-date on the latest threats and knowing how to respond
With the right amount of TURKEY, your data can be more secure and you can have peace of mind throughout the year…enjoy!
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.
Read next: How You Can Help on Giving Tuesday