Protecting Your Identity: Staying Safe Outside Your Dorm Room

It’s time for our second installment in the “Protecting Your Identity” series.  If you missed our first post, you can catch up by clicking here.  

Today’s post features our five rules of thumb for staying safe outside of your dorm room.  It’s generally accepted that people that are proactive in avoiding identity fraud are the ones less likely to have their personal information stolen.  Plus, security can be just like perfume – a little can go a long way.

Keep data private!

  • While we touched on this issue in our first post, remember to pay online bills from a secure site (and not a public Wi-Fi hotspot).
  • If you must mail checks, do so at the post office.  Never leave bills and checks in your mailbox.
  • If you have a job, consider enrolling in direct deposit.  Always shred sensitive paper documents!

Be social, but responsible..

  • Be careful on social networks about exposing sensitive information that is used by banks to verify your personal identity (full birthdate, high school name, pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, etc).  Use privacy settings to control who can see your info.  After all, not everyone has to know that your dog’s name is “Fluffy,” and your high school mascot was the Peacock.
Use Mobile safely..
A phone or tablet without proper protection? That’s like a treasure chest for Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Ever hear of a celebrity’s phone getting hacked? No? Well, you may have been living under a rock, because when you combine the information most people have stored on these devices with the “always on” functionality, you have a treasure chest for your average criminal.
  • Once again, don’t access unsecure websites or transmit data over public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use.
  • Look into a “remote wipe” application.  In the event that your phone is lost, you can erase its content remotely – the equivalent of cancelling a lost credit card.

Ask questions!

  • Before providing any information, always ask yourself the following questions: Who is asking for this information?  Why do they need it? How is the information being used? Does it make sense to provide them with personal information?

Stay updated and do your research

  • Always, always, always be on the lookout for fraudulent scams.  Never heard of a company before? Don’t be afraid to use Google to vet anything you think looks suspicious.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer and keep it updated.

We hope these tips help protect you, and stay tuned for our third post in the series!

One Response to Protecting Your Identity: Staying Safe Outside Your Dorm Room

  1. Pingback: Protecting Your Identity: No Facebook, More Security? « peertales

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