As a Realtor®, you put yourself out there. Between your website, directory listings, and mailing lists, a lot of people are introduced to your personal brand in one way or another. Unfortunately, this can expose your personal information to some who will want to know more. How you protect your identity will determine whether or not those few nefarious individuals will be successful. Identity Theft on the Rise According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 85% of identity theft cases involved unauthorized use of bank account or credit card information with nearly 1 in 3 victims spending a month or more resolving the crime. The best way to avoid this predicament is by proactively securing your personal information. Monitor Your Credit Reports Annually As you’re well aware of, everyone is entitled to one free report from each of the three agencies per year. But life gets busy, tasks pile up, and it can be difficult to keep track of your credit report — until it’s too late. Some simple ways to keep track of your credit reports include: Create a yearly routine of ordering your reports within a week of your birthday Add a reminder to a task management or calendar program Delegate the reminder to a personal assistant Safeguard Digital Information From mobile devices to desktops, Realtors® are more connected than ever before. With the availability of Wi-Fi, accessing the Internet is instant and convenient. It also leaves the door wide open for malicious attacks and security breaches. Do the following to protect your information: Avoid public Wi-Fi connections, as your information can be viewed by others Use strong passwords and additional security features, like two-step authentication Keep security programs on computers and devices updated Eliminate Paper Clutter with Sensitive Information If you haven’t already, consider switching to paperless billing and communications with banks, lenders, schools, and organizations. Accumulating paper with sensitive information isn’t safe, as criminals can pull it out of the garbage and use it to fraudulently acquire goods and services. Reduce paper clutter with the following strategies: Purchase a paper shredder for your home and office Scan important documents into a secure cloud storage account and store originals in a safety deposit box Consider paperless accounting software...Read More
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