We rely on the internet to work, bank, shop, and socialize. Our health and financial information are stored online. Connected devices control everything from home security systems to thermostats and TVs. While convenient, these connections open the door for possible malicious activity. Help manage your cybersecurity risks, such as identity theft, with these tips from the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Identity theft is the unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account, use of your information to open a new account, and misuse of your information to commit fraud.
Data thieves gain access to information from a variety of places, including your mailbox, home and business trash, public dumps, public records, and social media.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
How to identify your risk
You are at risk if you store personal information on a home or work computer, or if you bank or shop online. The following scenarios may be signs of compromised data:
- You see unexpected withdrawals from your bank account.
- You do not receive your bills or other mail.
- You receive bills for health services you did not use, or your health plan rejects a legitimate medical claim.
Regularly check your credit report to ensure you do not see:
- A new account you did not open.
- Unfamiliar accounts listed.
- Negative items.
How to keep your information safe online
There are basic steps you can take to secure your information and data:
- Dispose of personal information by shredding documents using a cross-cut shredder.
- Use strict privacy settings on your computer, devices, and browsers.
- Keep passwords private, and do not write your passwords down. You may consider using a reliable password manager.
- Be mindful about the personal information you share on social media.
- Be cautious of what you download from the internet. Navigate directly to websites when you need to initiate a download. Do not download anything or click links from sites or emails that someone sends you.
- If your Social Security number is requested by a vendor, ask why it is needed and how it will be used and protected.
- Remember that there is nothing wrong with telling someone that you are not comfortable sharing personal information.
Keeping your information safe also means ensuring your devices, including smart phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and other devices, are secure:
- Update your software regularly.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Use antivirus or anti-malware software to protect against malicious software that disrupts computer operations, gathers sensitive information, gains access to private computers, or displays unwanted advertising.
- Password protect your laptop to prevent unknown users from accessing it.
- Avoid opening emails or attachments from unknown senders.
- Back up your files to an encrypted flash drive or external hard drive.
TOP THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Regularly check your credit report for warning signs of identity theft. Indiana residents are able to get a free credit report each year. For information about how to request a free credit report, visit https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/free-credit-reports#:~:text=Federal%20law%20gives%20you%20the,TransUnion)%20at%20AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Any Indiana resident can request a credit freeze free of charge. There is no fee for Indiana residents to place, temporarily lift, remove or request a new password or PIN.
- Indiana residents can file an identity theft complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office. Visit in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/id-theft-prevention/complaint-form/ to find links to the form.
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has resources on how to avoid identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an identity theft website to report incidents and develop a recovery plan.
About the Indiana Department of Insurance
The Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The IDOI monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The IDOI also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work. Visit the IDOI at www.IN.GOV/IDOI.