Better Protect Your Identity with These 5 Quick Steps

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This October marks National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), and we think it’s the ideal time for an identity checkup—yours!

Take These Five Simple Steps

Think about it. Is your identity security worth a few minutes of your time? Absolutely! Here are five quick actions that can help lock down some key elements of your identity.

  1. Check your devices for known viruses and spyware, and see if your devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
  2. Set up an Identity Protection PIN with the IRS. Go to IRS Identity Protection PIN to further verify your identity and help prevent an identity thief from filing a tax return with your SSN.
  3. Add 2-factor authentication (2FA) as free second layer of account security offered by many companies. It combines your designated password with a mobile phone number or other indicator to help prevent hackers from breaking into your accounts. Go to for step-by-step instructions.
  4. Register to receive your financial statements online to help prevent mail theft and reduce the chance of identity theft due to break-ins. Online documents can be stored in encrypted form if you encode your computer.
    Important reminder: both paper and digital files are worthless if you don’t check your statements regularly. Many consumer protections, including the right to dispute billing errors, have a short shelf life. Report any errors found in writing ASAP. The Truth in Lending Act allows up to 60 days to dispute any incorrect transactions.
  5. Follow good password protocol. Create passwords that are harder to hack and make sure each account has its own password—that way if a cybercriminal gains access to one password it won’t be a gateway to multiple accounts. Stop and Think provides a number of tips and suggestions to practice sound online safety habits including protecting your personal information, like making your password a sentence. Don’t forget about Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which include digital door locks, video doorbells, and other home tools connected to your Wi-Fi network. 

NCSAM is a joint government and industry effort first launched in 2004. The theme for this year’s NCSAM is “Our Shared Responsibility.” To learn more about how to reduce online fraud and identity theft, look at the NCSAM’s StaySafeOnline.

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