January 28 is Data Privacy Day. Unfortunately scammers love to prey on older adults and each year there are multiple scams to be on the lookout for. Celebrate Data Privacy Day by taking these steps to protect yourself (or a loved one) from identity theft:
- Keep up with news about what scams are popular at the moment. Share this information with your loved ones.
- Talk to your loved ones about ways they can determine if a caller is trying to scam them.
- Before sharing personal information, ask yourself why the information is needed (what’s the purpose?), how the information will be protected, and what the worst case scenario looks like if you don’t share your information.
- Order a free credit score report and make sure there are no issues (this can be done by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling 877-322-8228). NOTE: You WILL be asked for your social security number.
- NEVER give out personal information to someone who calls you randomly.
- Shred documents that have your personal information or credit card information.
- Don’t keep your Social Security card in your wallet.
If you use a computer:
- If possible, create a password for your computer/phone/electronic device.
- Make sure you use strong passwords and DON’T use the same password for everything.
- Look for “https” at the beginning of website addresses (the “s” stands for “Secure”).
- Only open emails from people you know.
- Install a pop up blocker.
- Report identity theft here: https://identitytheft.gov/
- Visit this website if your information has been compromised: https://identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen
- Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office has a great guide for staying safe on a computer. You can view it here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/Online_Safety_Handout_9.1.15_498813_7.pdf
Together we can protect the vulnerable members of our community.