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. Javelin Strategy and Research noted in its 2019 Identity Fraud study that there were 14.4 million victims of identity fraud in 2018, resulting in $1.7 billion in out-of-pocket fraud costs, nearly twice what it was in 2016.

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, too. As a Discover Cardmember, you have the option of adding Discover’s Identity Theft Protection for just $15 per month.1 This comprehensive service monitors all 3 credit bureaus for key changes2, thousands of dark websites 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 expenses3 — 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.

 

Identity Theft Protection:

  1. This product is only intended for the Primary credit cardmember whose accounts are open, in good standing and have an email address on file. It can only be agreed upon, purchased and delivered online. This product is optional and voluntary.
  2. Key changes include: New accounts, credit inquiries, address changes, potentially negative information such as delinquencies, new public records.
  3. Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). 175 Water Street, New York, New York 10038. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.