According to a story in The Guardian, hackers recently have used public wi-fi in luxury hotels to steal money and secrets from wealthy businesspeople.
Today is Veterans Day in the United States, a day we take a moment to say thank you to those people who protected our freedom. However, the battles so many brave Americans fought to protect us in the past are increasingly moving online. On a Sunday-morning talk show, a former government member admitted that the USA has crashed centrifuges in Iran using hacking tools. Home Depot just reported that over 58,000 emails were stolen (including mine….I just received the letter from them yesterday).
It’s clear: the battle’s raging for our information.
While countries are taking the fight online, realize that this is increasingly where your money lives. I recently had fraudulent purchases happen in my name in iTunes. My debit card was shut down and now I have no access to cash until I go to the bank and receive a new one. Even then, I won’t carry bills. It’ll all be done electronically.
To some degree, institutions protect us. My bank alerted me to the fraud and I haven’t had to pay any of the charges from iTunes. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t protect myself, though. There’s no reason to make it easy for someone to steal my stuff.
5 Common Sense Tips to Protect Your Online Identity
1) Schedule times to change your passwords the same way you schedule battery changes in your smoke alarms. Set a schedule and continually switch. Don’t use obvious passwords like your birthday, anniversary or pet’s name.
2) Phishing scams are on the rise, so this one should be obvious, but don’t email your credit card number to anyone. Ever.
3) Schedule weekly family meetings to review bills together. Everyone involved in the family should review every bill. You’ll find mistakes and often fraud by actually looking at your statements.
4) Freeze your files with credit agencies if you feel that your information has been hacked. Experian, Transunion and Equinox all have fraud alert systems in place.
5) If you’re using wi-fi, connect through a wireless router with password protection and encryption. When traveling, we like the Satechi Smart Travel Router with USB Port .
Those are only a few basic ways to keep your information safe (for more, read 5 Ways to Protect Your Checking Account Online). On Veteran’s Day, when you’re thinking about people who’ve protected you in the past, take a moment to protect those who rely on you from internet scammers.