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Identity Theft Awareness Week: Protecting Your Personal Data – A Reason to Celebrate

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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When it comes to dealing with cybercriminals and identity theft, it’s too bad we can’t just hit the “easy button” when we need it, especially when it comes to preventing someone from using our name or personal information to commit (all kinds of) fraud.

If you’re wondering how the button fits into all of this, you might be interested to know that, back in 2005, a New York ad agency created a clever TV commercial for the Super Bowl that featured an office retailer’s solution for handling – what you might say – some of life’s everyday challenges. Heck, they even made it an in-store product.

Yet for all of the information that you’ll see about cyber crimes and data breaches, there is an opportunity for all of us to better understand how we can better protect our personal data. And while it’s not something that will cause you to run down to Party City and celebrate, it is Identity Theft Awareness Week.

Here in Indiana, the Attorney General’s office reminds Hoosiers to follow five steps for protecting you and your family, including:

  • Do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, on a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Create a unique password for each online account and change it often.
  • Don’t click on anything in unsolicited emails or text messages.
  • Be careful with the information you and your family share on social media. Sharing things like pet names, schools, and family members can give scammers the hints they need to guess your passwords or the answers to your account security questions.
  • Place a security freeze on your credit reports to block an identity thief from opening a new account or obtaining credit in your name and keep new creditors from accessing your credit report without your permission.

In addition to the FTC’s website, features everything from the seven types of identity theft and the warning signs to the 10 ways identity theft happens. There’s even a video. HINT: For all the technology we can access, you can have your personal data stolen without even using your smartphone or computer.

If the worst case scenario happens and you believe you’re a victim of identity theft (or your organization is impacted), be sure to report it! The Indiana Cyber Hub website’s Report a Cyber Incident page offers an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process for what you need to do.

Most importantly, you’ll want to take immediate action and know your resources; FREE help is available (that’s your EASY button…no purchase required).