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Information Security TIP OF THE WEEK

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National Fraud Day

November 11th, was Veterans Day. We want to take a moment to thank all Veterans for their service.

Yesterday was also National Fraud Day. Unfortunately, fraud is a worsening problem. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017, beating the previous year’s record high. The total cost of that identity theft was a staggering $16.8 billion, and nearly a third of US consumers had to be notified of some sort of breach (remember the Equifax breach? There’s a good chance that you were one of the 143 million people affected by it). Account takeovers also tripled in 2017, causing a total of $5.1 billion in damages. On an individual level, each victim paid an average of $290 out-of-pocket and spent 15 hours trying to resolve the fraud. Not the way I’d like to spend my spare time or money!

So how can we as consumers protect ourselves? Passwords are a great place to start. Of those that participated in the Consumer Fraud Awareness survey by Shred-It, half felt that their security practices made them vulnerable (49%) and admitted to reusing passwords and PINs (51%). Clearly, consumers understand that bad password habits make them vulnerable, but they don’t change these habits. Perhaps the thought of having a strong password for each online account is too daunting. If you feel that way, maybe a password manager is an option to consider. At the very least, make sure that your financial accounts have strong passwords, even if it requires a little extra effort to remember them. Another option is good old-fashioned pen and paper. While you don’t want to leave Post-it notes with your most sensitive passwords on every surface of your cubicle or office, writing down an important password and keeping it a fireproof lockbox is never a bad idea when the alternative is creating a weak password or reusing a password.

Finally, keep an eye on your accounts. You won’t be able to respond to an incident if you don’t know that it’s happened. Check your bank statements frequently and don’t forget that you’re entitled to one free credit check a year from each of the Big Three credit reporting agencies. If you spread these checks out throughout the year, you can check your credit at annualcreditreport.com for free every few months to make sure that someone hasn’t stolen your identity and is opening up lines of credit in your name.

Article: https://threatpost.com/threatlist-despite-fraud-awareness-password-reuse-persists-for-half-of-u-s-consumers/138846/