Keep an eye on your accounts.
Monitor your online activity so that if you are impacted by a data breach, you realize right away and can change your passwords and report the problem immediately. This means regularly checking in on your credit card charges to ensure nothing seems strange, but also extends to accounts you may not think to check as often, like your 401(k)
. Many companies give you the option to set up alerts to assist in this monitoring. For example, credit monitoring services like CreditWise can send you notifications when your Social Security number has been used with a new name or address, or you can ask your bank to email you when a certain amount of money is withdrawn.
Don’t overshare. Every time you mindlessly create an online account to go shopping or order food, you’re forking over more information that could be stolen during a data breach. Before plugging in your information, ask yourself why the company needs that data and if you really need to hand it over.
Be vigilant. If your email inbox or phone are constantly full of new messages, it can be easy to get tricked by a criminal sender in disguise. Double-check that a message is actually coming from who is says it’s coming from (for example, a hacker may send an email from @paypal.work.com, instead of just @paypal.com). Misspellings and poorly-written texts and emails are red flags indicating possible scams. If you’re suspicious, call the company or person and ask if a message is actually from them before acting on it.