Protect Your Personal Information Online and Offline

Reduce your risk of identity theft by protecting your personal information with these tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It’s important to store and dispose of your personal information securely, particularly when that information includes your Social Security number. Know who you share the information with, and don’t shy about asking questions before deciding whether to share your personal information. Keep your computer, smart phone, and other electronic devices secure.

Offline Security for Personal Information

Your financial documents and records should be stored in a safe and secure location in your home. Do not carry your Social Security card when you leave your residence unless you need it for a specific purpose.

Be sure to shred receipts, credit offers/applications, bank statements, expired credit cards, checks, insurance forms, and any other documents that include your personal information when you no longer need them. Destroy the labels on prescription bottles before disposing of them.

Check your mailbox and collect your mail regularly. If you’ll be away for a few days, you can request a hold so personal mail doesn’t arrive while you are gone.

Ask why information is needed, how it will be protected, and consequences of not sharing the information when you receive a request at your workplace, a business, a doctor’s office, your child’s school, and other locations.

Online Security for Personal Information

Do not provide your personal information over the phone, via mail, or online unless you’ve initiated the contact or know for sure who you are working with. If a company claiming to have an account with you sends an email asking for personal information, do not click on links in the email. Search for the company site and contact their customer service department or call the customer service number on your account statement and confirm whether the company sent you a request.

When making online transactions, make sure the site is secure. Check for a lock icon on the status bar of your browser, which shows that your information will be safely transmitted. Do not share personal or financial information online if the site is not secure. Keep your passwords private and make sure that they are difficult to guess. Consider adding numbers, capital letters, or special characters to add strength to your passwords.

Avoid sharing too much information about yourself on social media. Many surveys present a prime opportunity for an identity thief to find information that can help them answer security questions on your accounts. This can be a way for them to get access to your money and personal information. Never post your full name, Social Security number, phone number, address, or account numbers on social media. If you have an old email address you are no longer using, shut down the account and make sure it is not an alternate login account for other sites.

If you are disposing of a computer or mobile device, make sure to delete your information permanently. You can overwrite the hard drive of your computer. For your mobile device, check the owner’s manual or the website for the service provider/device manufacturer to learn how to delete your personal information.

You can get even more tips for keeping your personal information safe from the FTC.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.