PWR’s Comprehensive Financial Plan includes a list of tips to prevent identity theft. At a national financial planning conference last month, I gathered some additional items to add to that list.
1. Use a VPN when appropriate – A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect you when using public networks such as at hotels, airports and coffee shops. A VPN service encrypts your data from the source (your device). The service I use and pay for is Cloak VPN but there are others out there.
2. Google your Name (and Maiden Name) – Look for your information on pages like mylife.com and whitepages.com. I was shocked to not only find my current home address on whitepages.com, but all of my previous addresses from the last 10 years. To remove your info, you need to claim your listing (free) and delete all the information. Services like reputation.com will remove the information for you and continue to monitor the web as new sites pop up.
3. Use a Password Tool – Password tools make it easier for you to have a challenging, unique password for all of your sites. I use 1Password for Mac but there are others. This page answers the most common questions I hear with regards to security concerns.
4. 2-Step Verification – While I have been recommending this for years for Gmail and Dropbox accounts, more and more sites are giving you this option. Periodically review your most sensitive accounts and see if they are offering this additional layer of protection. 2-Step verification requires you enter the correct username and password AND enter a pin that was sent to your phone via text message.
What am I missing? Email me so I can share it with others. firstname.lastname@example.org.