1. Check your credit report
A 2013 Federal Trade Commission Study of the U.S. Credit Reporting Industry estimated that five percent of consumers had errors on at least one of their three major credit reports. You are entitled by law to one free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, available at www.annualcreditreport.com (no strings attached), and should check your credit report at least once a year to verify its accuracy. Check your credit card and other statements as soon as you receive them, and promptly report anything you don’t recognize.
For tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on reviewing your credit report, click here.
For tips from the Federal Trade Commission on protecting your credit during everyday transactions, click here.
2. Protect your mobile device
Intrusions on your mobile device can occur on the hardware or software level. While locking your phone and keeping it within sight go a long way, also consider running anti-virus/anti-spyware software and avoid sending sensitive information over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks (beware of “Free Public Wi-Fi”!). Also consider using encryption software to help protect your data in the event of an intrusion.
For mobile privacy tips from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, click here.
3. Own your online presence
The content you post online will be around for a long time, but you can customize privacy settings on most social media sites. This will affect who can contact you and who can see the information you post. Be choosy: while it’s fun to share information, keep your online reputation in mind. And if you over-disclose information publicly, it could be used by identity thieves to hijack your identity.
For tips from the Federal Trade Commission on keeping your information secure, click here.
4. Filter your inbox
Unwanted emails come in the form of commercial spam and malicious content. Rely on automatic filters to reject most spam email, and be critical when opening those that get through to your inbox. Treat emails from unrecognized senders with caution and never click a link or download an attachment before verifying the legitimacy of the email.
For information from the Federal Trade Commission on “phishing,” click here.
For tips from the Federal Trade Commission on limiting spam, click here.
5. Protect your privacy when surfing the web
For tips from the Federal Trade Commission on computer security, click here.
In honor of Data Privacy Day, Hogan Lovells privacy practice director Chris Wolf has penned an entry for the IAPP Privacy Perspectives on the impact of transparency reports. To read “Will Transparency Calm Concern over National Security Access,” click here.
Special thanks to Julian Flamant for his substantial assistance in the preparation of this entry.