Protecting Yourself is as Important as Planning for Retirement
It’s great to know that you’re set up to be financially secure about your retirement. You may have taken maximum advantage of your 401(k), 401(b), IRA or Roth IRA, and moved from riskier investments in the stock market to more conservative options as you grew older.
You might even have planned to take a part-time job, just to have a little side money.
But have you been mindful about another important issue that may disrupt all the careful financial plans you’ve made? That is — protecting your identity.
Everyday identity theft risks
Every time you disclose personal information in social media accounts, access your bank account over a public WiFi network, or save credit card numbers at retailer web sites, you may be increasing your risk of identity theft. The work you’ve done all these years to ensure your financial security in retirement could be vulnerable.
Cybercriminals can sell or trade personal information they have about you to identity thieves, who may be able to use that to get even more data about you. In total, this may mean that cybercriminals have a more complete picture of you that can leave your digital identity at risk.
Keep your digital DNA to yourself
Your digital DNA is everywhere, and you can lessen the risks surrounding it in a few ways. These include:
- When it comes to your social media profile, don’t give everything away – full birth date, childhood hometown, parents’ full names and so on. That’s tasty food for the identity thief who wants to learn everything about you.
- Maybe you want to use some of your retirement savings for travel. Before you head out, install a virtual private network on your mobile device to encrypt internet traffic. You’re not safe logging into financial accounts on any open WiFi – even in the airport.
- The Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recommends making harder-to-crack passwords for banks and other sensitive account sign-ins. If you’ve been using simple-to-guess passwords for many years, it’s time to trade ABC123 in favor of something like Y&9)aaB, it advises in its 5 Tips to Stay Safe Online This National Security Month. You can use password generators and managers to create strong passwords, regularly change and securely store them. Don’t forget to apply the same password rules to any credit card information you want to keep as a default with a trusted online retailer.
- People age 65 and over experienced a median loss of $400 to scams of all types in 2018. Last year was also the first time that websites eclipsed phones as the top means of contact for scams reporting a monetary loss, notes the BBB Scam Tracker in its report Tech-Savvy Scammers Word to Con More Victims. Make sure to watch what websites you visit and emails you open, as they can be the entry points to phishing attacks and malware installations. Don’t respond with any personal information and check that the email address corresponds to a real website.
Discover is your partner in combating identity theft
Discover can help you tackle identity theft with Discover’s Identity Theft Protection for just $15 per month.1 This comprehensive service monitors all 3 credit bureaus for key changes, thousands of dark websites for your SSN and more for potential threats to your identity. In the case of ID theft, you can access up to $1 million of Identity theft insurance for legal expense, reimbursement of stolen funds, lost wages and more covered expenses — and count on expert service from 100 percent U. S.-based fraud resolution specialists.
Taking some simple steps to be more vigilant in your everyday life and enlisting the help of an identity theft protection service may provide you with the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your retirement.