People don't change bad habits until they have a compelling reason. Too often that compelling reason is the result of a habit's negative outcome; but the promise of positive rewards resulting from the establishment of good habits can be a strong motivator. In the workplace, aligning responsible information stewardship with personal and professional gain can set the stage for good privacy habits.
Here are 5 steps you can take towards perfecting your own Privacy Habits:
- Tighten up online passwords. Create strong, alphanumeric passwords. Instead of your password being Sunflower make it $uNf(0w3R. Don't use common password reminders such as your dog's name, street address, or mother's maiden name. All of those would be easily uncovered by an identity thief.
- Buy a Shredder - and use it. By shredding anything that has your name, address, birthday, social security number, or account numbers on it, you will be less likely to have your identity stolen through the trash. Make sure that the shredder you chose is kept in a convenient location - if you can't get to it fast, you won't use it!
- Secure your Facebook. Tighten up the privacy settings and make your profile only available to your friends. We do a lot of posts on Facebook Privacy Settings because they have a tendency to change frequently. Watch the site and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current on how to protect yourself and your profile on Facebook.
Opt-Out. Take the time to call 1-888-567-8688 1-888-567-8688 or visit www.OptOutPreScreen.com
to stop financial junk mail from ending up at your house and inevitably - your trash. Those mailers give thieves an easy way to set up credit card accounts in your name without your consent. They spend money on the card and default on the balance, leaving you with the mess of proving that you didn't make the purchases.
- Order your free credit report. By law, you are entitled to one free report from each agency once a year. The easiest way to get a report is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 1-877-322-8228. Make sure that you request your free annual credit report from one credit agency only, as you can order the other two reports throughout the remainder of the year. By spreading the reports out over time, you will be monitoring your files consistently and frequently.
John Sileo is the award-winning author of Stolen Lives, Privacy Means Profit (Wiley, August 2010) and the Facebook Safety Survival Guide, a professional Financial Speaker and America's leading identity theft expert. His clients include the Department of Defense, FTC, FDIC and Pfizer; his recent media appearances include 60 Minutes. Learn more about him at www.Sileo.com and www.ThinkLikeaSpy.com .