Unfortunately, during this turmoil there are some who are taking advantage of the fear and heightened emotions to steal personal information and dupe users into paying for fraudulent “charitable funds” or bogus “medical bills.” While you should always be careful and question all suspicious activities, it is even more critical to be extra vigilant during this period. Here are ten quick tips for you to ensure you are safeguarding your data and some helpful related articles below:

1. Protect your account information. If you need to give your advisor or others your account number, social security number or date of birth, try calling them first to confirm with whom you are speaking. If you have to use email, be sure to use encrypted email.

2. Do not repeat the same password for multiple sites and do not use really easy passwords. According to Fast Company, “five of the top seven most common passwords revealed in 2019 data breaches are variations on ‘123456789.’”

3. Use a password manager such as LastPass. Password managers are free tools that you can download to your computer that manage your passwords for you. You no longer have to remember complicated passwords, which frees you from the issue above.

4. Ask your custodian or bank if they offer two-factor authentication. This is a device or app that provides a unique number each time you log in to your account. We also recommend you doing this for any account that may hold personal information, such as your email and social media accounts.

5. Check your credit report regularly to ensure no one has taken out credit in your name.

6. Consider freezing your credit if you don’t plan to take out a loan in the next few years. You will need to do this at each of the three major credit bureaus: EquifaxTransUnion and Experian.

7. Keep your Social Security and Medicare cards in a secure location.

8. Don’t fall prey to phishing scams. If someone calls you on the phone telling you they’ve detected fraudulent activity on your behalf, do not give them your private information. The same goes for someone contacting you over email. No one will ever ask for your personal information over the phone or email so always hang up or ignore these attempts.

9. If your email or social media account is hacked, change your password immediately and notify pertinent parties.

10. Encourage your family to follow safe anti-fraud measures and monitor your children’s accounts/information as they are oftentimes more prone to identity theft.

Related Content

Note: Third-party links below are for informational purposes only. We do not endorse the content nor the products of these linked websites.

FBI Sees Rise in Fraud Schemes Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The FBI released a public service announcement on March 20 with specific schemes that are on the rise and what to do if you believe you are a victim.

How to Protect Yourself as Scammers Cash In on Coronavirus Fears | NBC Nightly News
The FDA and FTC warned seven companies to stop claiming that their products can treat the virus. Other scams include a phone call claiming to take reservations for a vaccine, fake sites offering to sell medical supplies, and phony charities seeking donations.

How to Survive the Elder Financial Abuse Epidemic
Asheville-based lawyer Heather Whitaker Goldstein taught Parsec attendees last fall how to avoid falling prey to elder financial abuse. Watch her speech, download her presentation and read a recap from her talk.