A new report from credit bureau Equifax finds that identity theft has grown right along with smartphone use. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
The report, titled “With Just One Click: The Impact of Technology on Identity Theft,” looks at how a combination smartphone thefts, social media vulnerability, phishing attacks and weak passwords have contributed to the rise in identity theft.
This collection of vulnerabilities is a potent lure for thieves: according to research from SafeNet, more than 200 million data records were stolen in just the first quarter of 2014.
In a statement, Equifax suggests that consumers take these steps:
* Make sure your security software is up-to-date on both your computer and smartphone. Free solutions are available from reputable sources.
* Keep your phone locked with an access code. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
* Download the latest software updates for your device to fix security holes.
* Be on the lookout for email scams.
* Keep your social media accounts private and don’t share common identifying information like your mother’s maiden name or your birthdate.
* Use unique and complex passwords.
* After a data breach, change your passwords, place a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies, close affected accounts and monitor your credit report.
You can get a copy of the Equifax report at http://www.equifax.com/assets/PSOL/Technology_and_Identity_Theft_wp.pdf.
By observing a few precautions you can help to make sure you don’t become the next victim of identity theft.
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