Scammers and cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Luckily, protecting yourself against this type of crime doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. For example, here are four simple ways to protect yourself against identity theft. All these tips are easy top put into practice and you can start applying them today.
Use Safe Passwords
Safe passwords are your best allies when it comes to thwarting scammers. Avoid common passwords such as “12345,” “password,” or “pa55w0rd.” These are some of the hallmarks of a safe password:
- At least eight characters long (more if possible).
- Include upper and lowercase letters.
- Combine numbers and letters.
- Includes at least one special character (for example #, $, @, &).
Be Careful With the Emails You Receive!
Emails are one of the main methods cybercriminals use to obtain your personal information. That’s why is critical to be careful with the emails you receive. Keep in mind these three simple rules:
- Don’t open emails that come from unknown senders.
- Don’t click on links included in suspect emails.
- Don’t download EVER documents attached to suspect emails.
Protect Your Personal Information
Take steps to ensure that critical data and documents are always safe from prying eyes. This includes some digital solutions, such as security software, firewall, and antivirus. However, common sense goes a long way toward protecting your information. For example, don’t carry your Social Security card with you every day, and make sure to keep your tax records in a safe place that only you can access.
Get an IP PIN
Another common strategy scammers deploy consists in filing a tax return in the name of someone else. To protect yourself against this form of identity theft, get an IP PIN with the IRS. An IP PIN is a six-digit number known only to you and the IRS. This nips in the bud any attempt to use your personal information without your permission. If you are interested in getting an IP PIN, consider the following:
- An IP PIN is valid for one calendar year.
- You must obtain a new IP PIN each year.
- The IP PIN tool is generally unavailable mid-November through mid-January each year.
To obtain an IP PIN, use this online tool created by the IRS, or contact a tax professional.
More Tips and Ideas
Read these previous posts for more tips that cover every aspect of the management of your organization, from communication to online security.
- 3 Reasons Why Business Owners Should Read Literary Fiction
- Crafting the perfect elevator pitch for the pandemic (and post-pandemic) world
- Avoid these 3 common grammar mistakes in your business emails
- What are cognitive biases and why should businesspeople be aware of them?
About the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
At the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GRHCC), our core mission is supporting small businesses and economic development with advocacy, business referrals, marketing opportunities, training programs, student internships, and scholarships.