October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and between data breaches, cloud storage privacy issues, and bugs compromising personal passwords, identity theft protection is on the forefront of many people’s mind.
Cybercrime comes in many forms–online identity theft, financial fraud, hacking, e-mail spoofing, information forgery, and intellectual property crime. American consumers reported losing over $1.6 billion to fraud overall in 2013, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s annual report. Fraudsters looking to steal your identity actively seek to gain access to your personal information by any means necessary, which means it’s important to not only protect yourself online but also to discard personal documents carefully.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin invites consumers and businesses to participate in Shred Day. This identity theft prevention event features free on-site shredding and electronic recycling aimed at protecting your identity.
Date: Saturday, October 25
Time: 9:00 am to Noon
Location: First National Bank Texas
2511 W Trimmier Rd, Killeen, TX 76542
Free shredding and electronic recycling services will be available until noon or until the shred trucks reach capacity. Consumers can bring up to two boxes of sensitive documents per vehicle to be shred on-site. The program is a BBB-branded identity theft, fraud prevention and educational initiative. Monetary donations benefiting BBB’s Education Foundation will also be accepted.
BBB encourages you to take these extra security measures to protect yourself against identity theft during NCSAM:
- Keep a clean machine. Whether it is a PC, mobile device or laptop, make sure security software is current and up-to-date. Having the latest software on all devices can be one of the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Change passwords for all online accounts regularly. When changing your password, make it long, strong and unique, with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. By keeping various passwords on your accounts, you lessen the risk of multiple accounts being compromised.
- Steer clear of suspicious texts, emails and links. Unsolicited e-mails and pop-up ads can be full of computer viruses designed to steal usernames and passwords from your computer. Don’t give in to curiosity. Close or delete the message.
- Connect with care. Use caution when logging on to public Wi-Fi hotspots and send personal information only to websites that are fully encrypted.
- Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family and colleagues to encourage them to be web-wise. You can find your BBB on Facebook or Twitter for the latest scam alerts and information. You can also find helpful information and tips at watchyourbuck.com.
- Report it. If your identity has been stolen or compromised, contact one of the three credit bureaus to report the crime (Equifax at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-397-3742, or TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289). Request that the credit bureau place a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent any further fraudulent activity from occurring. As soon as one of the bureaus issues a fraud alert, the other two bureaus are automatically notified.
- Protect personal information. Shred all statements and applications you get in the mail that you don’t want to keep, including credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, and billing statements for utilities and phone service.