Offline Offensive: Everyday Tips to Keep Your Personal Information

October 26, 2017

Many of us are so focused on our online security, we forget that our information is just as vulnerable offline. To help you reduce the risk of an offline data breach, consider these tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work.

  2. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home.

  3. Before you share information at your workplace, a business, your child's school, or a doctor's office, ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and the consequences of not sharing.

  4. Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents when you don’t need them any longer.

  5. Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you won’t be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail. In addition, consider opting out of prescreened offers for credit and insurance by mail.

  6. Don’t give out personal information on the phone or through the mail unless you’ve initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with. If you’re unsure whether a call from a business is legitimate, look them up online and then call the customer service number and ask.

While much attention has been paid to the risks of sharing information online—and rightly so, it’s just as important to be on the offensive offline when it comes to keeping your personal information secure. Keep these tips in mind in your everyday activities for extra peace of mind.

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