When you think Spring Cleaning do you think cleaning out closets, scrubbing windows and other chores you don’t generally get around to very often? Most of us do. However, Spring Cleaning isn’t only about cleaning closets anymore. It’s also the perfect time to “tidy up” files and accounts to safeguard our finances and identity.
Our friends at ProtectMyID offer up a few simple Tidy Up tips that will help keep your identity safe this season:
Shed, Shred, Shred
Spring Cleaning creates a good opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need, including old documents. But don’t just throw them away; shred sensitive personal documents you don’t need to keep.
As Seasons Change, So Should Passwords
Passwords are an important part of your identity in the digital age. How well you protect them directly affects your ability to protect your identity. We recommend changing passwords with the change of every season. Strong passwords have at least eight characters, including numerals, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. They should never be obvious like part of your name or your mother’s maiden name and you should have a different password for every account.
Clean Out Your Wallet
What you don´t carry in your wallet or purse is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don´t write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet – keep it filed in a secure place at home along with other sensitive documents like passports and birth certificates. Further, if any of your identification cards from a school, library or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one.
Get Serious About Security Software
Most computers purchased today come with some security software on them, but often people allow product trial periods to expire – leaving their computers unprotected. Make sure you have up-to-date virus protection, anti-malware and anti-spyware software on your computer. Check to make sure your computer’s software is current and set it to update and run automatically every day.
Streamline Your Social Networking
In this age of social media, it’s not uncommon for people to have hundreds of online “friends” on any given social site. Keep in mind that on many social media sites, accepting a connection request gives that individual access to all the information in your profile. Keep profile information minimal and general, and never accept a friend request from someone you don’t actually know.