Cyber Security impacts almost everyone and in many facets of our personal and professional lives.
Whether you run a large corporation, operate a small private business, manage a home-based budget, utilize any types of professional or private services, are active in your community, or simply have hobbies and purchase essential products needed for daily life, your private information is online somewhere in cyber space. And since Identity Theft is a common sub-component of Cyber Security, HBK CPAs & Consultants' (HBK) Risk Advisory group wanted to kick off 2019 with some reminders for our clients and colleagues about how to avoid Identity Theft and remain Cyber Secure.
The most common types of identity theft are as follows:
- Social Security Number Identity Theft
- Medical Identity Theft
- Financial Identity Theft
- Driver’s License Identity Theft
- Character/Criminal Identity Theft
These types of identity theft involving data that are often referred to as PII because they contain Personally Identifiable Information. PII is essential to both personal and professional activities because of the huge number of computer databases where this type of information is housed, such as a electronic medical records, online banking, shopping, or utility accounts, etc.
Here are some suggestions to help to protect your identity, though the list is hardly all-inclusive:
- Review your annual free credit report via the Annual Credit Report website. This is why you should:
- It's authorized by federal law.
- You are entitled to one free report from each of the following credit bureaus every year.
- Trans Union
- If you have the ability to do so, enable text message alerts for:
- Purchases over X dollars (You can decide the amount based on your personal financial situation.)
- Online purchases
- Periodic account balances
- Evaluate the practicality of taking this step personally because in some states, there is a cost to unfreeze and then refreeze your credit files.
- Consider how often your information is public and vulnerable and what purchases may be impacting your credit or that would warrant a credit check.
- Learn more about freezing your credit files at the Annual Credit Report website. Follow these prompts:
- Choose the “Protect Your Identity” tab,
- Then choose “Security freeze basics” on the left-hand side of the screen.
The HBK Risk Advisory group can assist you with questions about Identity Theft or any other Cyber Security matters. For more information, please contact Bill Heaven at WHeaven@hbkcpa.com.