At The Gardens at Barry Road, we care about the safety of our residents, from physical safety to financial safety. Protecting your sensitive information helps prevent identity theft and financial losses. Seniors are often the target of scams designed to access private data. Using these tips can help you keep that information secure.
You likely have several documents with your personal information printed on them. This can include bank statements, bills, tax documents, insurance cards and other essential documentation. For items you need to keep, find a safe place, such as a locked drawer in a desk or filing cabinet, to store those documents. If you no longer need a document with things like your name, address, Social Security number or account number on them, put those items through a document shredder instead of just tossing them in the trash. This reduces the chances of a criminal accessing your data from discarded documents.
If you spend any time online, you'll likely create accounts for various websites and platforms. You might handle your banking online or take online classes that require you to set up an account. Create secure passwords for any online accounts. Some password pointers include:
Using a password manager on your electronic devices makes it easier to access your accounts without remembering lots of random passwords. The software program stores the passwords for you for easier logins.
You can continue keeping your online accounts safer by changing your passwords frequently. Some websites force you to change your passwords after a few months, but others let you keep your password as long as you want. Be proactive and change all your passwords every 3 months or so. When you change them, come up with completely unique passwords instead of just using a slight variation on your current passwords.
Scams are often highly sophisticated and may be difficult to identify. Scammers often pretend they're from your bank or other companies you do business with, and they can be quite convincing. They can make phone numbers and email addresses look like they're coming from a company you trust.
Always be suspicious if a company reaches out to you, even if it's a company you have an account with. They might ask you to confirm your account information or personal data. Instead of giving a random caller that information, find the company's published phone number on your bill or online and call them back yourself so you know you're talking to the real company. Avoid giving your personal information or confirming information if you didn't initiate the call.
Another way criminals often access your information is through phishing email messages. Just like phone calls that seem like they're coming from a trusted company, emails often look legitimate, with an email address and graphics that look like the real thing. Clicking on links from emails or text messages could lead you to a site that steals your personal data or installs malware on your device. You should also be suspicious of attachments to emails if you're not certain where they came from.
Whether you're exploring Kansas City or traveling long distances, it's fun to share your experiences on social media. However, posting where you're at when you're not at home puts you at risk. If someone sees that you're away, your home could become a target for theft. You could lose your possessions, and a thief could snag documents with your personal information from your home and cause more damage to your credit or bank accounts. Wait to post until you return home, and be careful not to overshare any personal information on social media.
Many websites and social media platforms offer varying security settings that you can adjust. Look for the security options in the settings of your account, and increase all the settings to the maximum strength. Multifactor authentication is a common security measure you can use on your accounts. If you log in from a different device, you'll need to use multiple methods to prove that it's you. This reduces the risk of a hacker accessing your account and all your personal information.
Computers, tablets and phones often have updates to their operating systems. Sometimes, the updates are cosmetic or offer a fun new feature, but they're often related to security. The update might have a fix to protect your device against a new virus or malware. By installing updates as soon as they're available, you're protecting your device and reducing the risk of getting hacked.
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