You can take steps to help protect your information. Jim Kreidler, consumer education specialist for the Federal Trade Commission, offers these tips:
- Keep your security software, internet browser, and operating system up to date. It helps make sure you have critical patches and protections against security threats.
- Create and use strong passwords. Making a password longer – 12 characters or more – is any easy way to increase its strength. Consider using random words so that your password is more memorable, but avoid using common words or phrases. Check out this password checklist, and don’t use the same password for different websites.
- Use multi-factor authentication. Some websites offer extra security by requiring two or more pieces of information to log in. You may have to give both a password and a passcode to log in. Multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for scammers to log in to your accounts even if they steal your username and password.
- Back up your data to protect it. Keep an extra copy of all your files with a secure cloud storage service, or save your files to an external storage device. Then, if something happens – for example, a virus, your device crashes, or you’re hacked – you still have your files.
- Protect your home network. Your devices, accounts, and network are only as secure as your router, since it’s the connecting point between your devices and the internet. Check out how to make your router more secure.
By taking these steps, you’ll have a safer 2022. If you’re a victim of fraud, be sure to report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Happy New Year.