Cybercrime is not just a current threat to businesses. Javelin Strategies reported that US residents lost $16.8 billion in 2017 to fraudsters – an 8% increase over the prior year. As identify thieves are becoming more cunning, it is imperative that consumers utilize precautions to protect their data and their money.

Here are 6 simple ways that you can protect yourself:

  • Use Strong Passwords: Create unique, complex passwords for each of your on-line accounts - skip the easy-to-guess options and the basic requirements to tack on a number and capital letter. Change your passwords often. Sign-up for a password manager app to keep track of your login information.

  • Monitor your Bank and Credit Info: Check your account balances, scan your credit card statements and pull credit reports regularly. While this will not totally prevent identity theft, it will ensure that you catch a problem and can mitigate the damage early.

  • Don’t Overshare on Social Media: If you share too much, savvy cybercriminals can piece together your profile to impersonate you. Limit what you post and check your social media settings every time a new update is released, or you are asked to agree to a new privacy policy.

  • Don’t send Sensitive Info over Email or Unsecured Sources: Avoid sending account numbers and sensitive documents via unencrypted messages. Remember that even though you have deleted a message or email, the data still lives in a place that’s accessible to thieves who can intercept or hack into accounts or servers. In addition, keep in mind who is on the receiving end - your info is only as secure as the persons that you send it to.

  • Vigilantly Update Apps and Device Software: These actually patch critical security holes that would otherwise leave your data vulnerable to hackers and viruses. Enable automatic update settings.

  • Don’t Share Too Much Info: It is rare that you would be asked to share personally identifiable information in public or with a stranger. Before giving away any information, whether in person, over the phone or online, make sure that it’s absolutely necessary to do so and that your data will be communicated or transmitted securely.

At the end of the day, be alert and vigilant! With care and diligence, you can keep yourself safe.

For professional help, consider seeking the support of an agnostic technology agent or consultant. This trusted advisor can help you review your needs, gain a deeper overview of the wide range of solutions and how each one fits in with what you're trying to accomplish. In addition to assisting you with procurement, they can also handle ongoing care.

To learn more about the benefits of working with a trusted advisor, click here.

About Comtel

Comtel Communications, a telecom/technology consulting agency based in Richmond, Virginia since 1991, provides best-in-class solutions and unbiased counsel to a diverse group of small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses, totaling more than $18.2M in annual billings. Leveraging unique access to 350+ national and international providers, Comtel benefits its clients through competitive quotes from multiple sources, to ensure their business goals are met with current and dynamic telecom and technology services. Acting as a partner, long after contracts are signed and services are deployed, Comtel offers superb back-office support to manage upgrades, track orders, and provide training to clients.

Author: Mike Martin