It seems like every day that we hear of a new data breach, a new scam, hackers taking down computers, viruses and malware infecting systems and more. Cyber crime is the fastest growing area of criminal activity, and it won’t slow down anytime soon. The costs of cyber crime is expected to exceed $6 trillion by the year 2021. With the recent Equifax breach affecting 174 million people nationwide, every American should be concerned about digital security for themselves and their family.
October is cyber security awareness month, so there’s no better time to educate yourself about digital security and learn what you need to know to protect yourself. Here’s what you need to be aware of when it come
s to cyber security, digital scams and identity theft:
The Most Common Digital Scams and Cyber Crimes
While cyber criminals can be extremely creative, many of them aren’t – they operate the same kinds of schemes and scams over and over, looking for victims. If you know what to look for, you can avoid becoming one of them. Learn what the top 10 scams are in Texas, including phishing – fake emails that look real, hoping to lure you into giving away valuable information, like your social security number or bank accounts.
Don’t Let Cyber Criminals Steal Your Tax Return
Tax-related identity theft is another growing area of cyber crime. Fraudsters often glean your personal details, like your social security number, name and address, from online data breaches, and then use those details to submit your tax return for you and steal your tax return. The number of fraudulent tax returns has skyrocketed in recent years and led to significant delays in the IRS and state authorities being able to process refunds. Learn how to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft.
Stealing Insurance Information to Access Medical Benefits
Cyber criminals have also begun stealing people’s health insurance information to commit medical identity theft. By accessing your medical insurance, someone can fraudulently obtain medical services by posing as you, while you get stuck with the bill. Victims of medical identity theft often end up paying thousands out of pocket to pay off their thief’s medical treatment or to hire a lawyer. On average, victims paid out over $13,000 to resolve a medical identity theft issue.
The Most Vulnerable Member of Your Family Is Your Child
While most identity theft victims are adults, children are a growing category of identity theft and cyber crime victims. If a digital thief is able to steal your child’s personal information, they can use it to open credit cards, take out loans, apply for jobs and more in your child’s name, ruining your child’s ability to establish credit or get a job in the future. Learn how to protect your child and teach them what to do to protect themselves from identity theft.
Secure Your Home Network
Is your home wifi connection unsecured or with the default password that came with your router? You could be at risk for a cyber criminal stealing your personal details. If you think about how many times you enter personal information into your home computer, you can quickly realize how damaging it would be if a fraudster is intercepting that information. Learn how to secure your home wifi, and remember not to use unsecured connections, like wifi at a coffee shop or other public place, to enter personal information.
Get Identity Theft Monitoring and Protection
With cyber crime and identity theft on the rise, it’s essential that everyone be monitoring their credit lines and digital devices for signs of tampering. But with the rising number of scams and forms of identity theft, that can be tricky to do. That’s why a designated identity theft monitoring and protecting service is so helpful. Texas Legal members get free identity theft protection through AllClearID included in their membership, meaning you can make sure someone’s keeping an eye on your identity and will be there to help you, should you become a victim.
Although all members are eligible for help from AllClearID in response to their identity being stolen, if you want AllClear to prevent identity theft by monitoring your credit card accounts and use of your social security number, you need to sign up. To do that, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our customer service number at 1-800-252-9346.