Tips & tricks to improve your cybersecurity
Last spring, a cyber criminal posing as a federal agent called Marble member Audrey from a number she recognized. He said her identity had been compromised and that someone pretending to be her was being investigated for various crimes. He convinced her that in order to avoid being prosecuted for these crimes, she needed to purchase a new Social Security number — which she did from her online bank account.
We’ll tell you now: this story does not end well. Audrey had her identity stolen, and it took months (and too many phone calls) for her to reckon with the fallout. Identity thieves got a hold of Audrey’s social security number and used it to open a number of credit cards in her name. And when they didn’t pay the credit card bills, it caused Audrey’s credit to go down the toilet. And then (yes, the hits just kept coming!) she started getting calls from creditors demanding payment. Take it from Audrey: you don’t want to find yourself in a similar situation.
In some ways though, Audrey was lucky: She had cyber protection insurance, which covered the loss. But was there anything that she could have done to prevent the theft in the first place? In fact, there are a few things you can do — and we’re here to tell you about them.
Don’t Carry Your Social Security Card Around
First off, never carry your social security card, number, or other identifying information with you unless it’s absolutely necessary. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is that, in the year of our lord 2022, social security numbers are still printed on tiny pieces of cardstock that can be lost, stained, or ripped in two. Also, someone can easily rummage through your bag and steal it — and since a slip of paper has no GPS tracking, it’ll be next to impossible to get that card back.
Be Careful Who You Share Your Social Security Number With
Likewise, don’t say your social security number aloud in public or share it (and other personal information) just because someone asks. And if you are considering divulging any identifying details, you must, must, must verify your sources! In that vein, be aware of phishing scams that try to get you to reveal your personal information. Unfortunately, thieves have become ever more sophisticated, so if you’re uncertain if that email really came from your bank, you’ll want to get on the phone and call them up. And remember that if your social security number is stolen, you need to report the fraud.
Monitor Your Online Financial Presence
With online banking, credit monitoring, and more, there are unfortunately ample opportunities for The Bad Guys™ to get your financial information. So to better protect yourself, we’ve got a few more friendly recommendations:
- Review your credit card statements for fraudulent charges, and make sure you know your billing cycles. If statements are late, get in touch with the financial institution in question.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, old account statements, and expired credit or debit cards.
- Try to get into the habit of reviewing your credit reports, and remember that you can always freeze your accounts with consumer credit reporting agencies to prevent anyone from opening a credit card or utility service in your name.
- And do not send $100,000,000 to an unknown account, just because your long-lost cousin asks!
Purchase Cyber Insurance
Finally (and perhaps most importantly!): consider purchasing personal cyber protection insurance, which can bring you peace of mind by protecting you in case of a loss. Here at Marble, we’re fans of MyCyberProtection™ from HSB, which provides financial protection and assistance in the event of an incident. There are coverages for Online Fraud, Home Systems Attack, Cyber Extortion, and much more. Visit HSB’s site for more information on available cyber coverages and to purchase insurance to protect yourself and your family.
It’s a wild world out there, so we all need to take steps to protect ourselves. At Marble, we want you to be as prepared as possible for life’s surprises (or surprising cyber breaches). That’s why we built a digital wallet to help you keep track of all your insurance policies — and earn rewards while doing so! Sign up for Marble today, and feel confident that your cyber insurance is handled.