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Keeping Your Data & Identity Secure

By Sara Orozco, Strategic Planning & Analysis Manager

These days, it seems like every week brings a new story about a company whose systems have been breached, resulting in a loss of personal information for millions of customers. Whether you regularly conduct your business online or not, given the amount of information shared with third parties to conduct regular business in the digital age, we are all vulnerable to a loss of our personal information or financial data.

If your data has been compromised, one of two things is likely to have occurred:  A vulnerability on your system, or a vulnerability at a third party you conduct business with. What can we do to keep our data secure?

Keeping Your Data Secure

Whether you conduct your business with a desktop PC, a laptop, or a mobile phone, these tips will help keep your data secure at home:

  1. Make sure that system updates are regularly installed.  System updates oftentimes contain patches to address new vulnerabilities.
  2. Conduct regular virus scans of your devices and address any issues your scan discovers.
  3. Be careful when clicking on links.
  4. Keep your passwords as long and complex as you can handle.  Never use the same password for every account.
  5. Be very careful about which entities you give your social security number and your full birthdate to.   Not everyone who asks needs this information.
  6. Replace your laptop or desktop PC when its operating system is no longer supported.   When your operating system is no longer supported by the manufacturer, you stop getting regular system updates.
  7. At home, keep your personal data locked in a safe.  Shred paperwork you no longer need that has your personal information on it.
  8. Keep your home Wi-Fi system secure and password protected.  Be careful when using public wireless systems.

Five Ways to Protect Your Identity

To protect your identify, the Federal Trade Commission suggests these five tips.

How Do I Keep my ASRS Account Secure?

In addition to the above tips, there are a few things you can do to keep your ASRS account secure and protect against someone else fraudulently registering an account with your personal information.

  1. Register for a myASRS account.  At a minimum, make sure ASRS always has your email address so we can contact you quickly if your personal information has been accessed or changed.
  2. Log into your myASRS account at least once a year to verify and update your account information.
  3. Do not share your account login/password.   Sadly, fraud can and does occur by family members and friends who know your personal information.

For more information on privacy, identity, and online security, visit the Federal Trade Commission at:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security.  This site has an extensive list of tips and information to help keep your personal data safe.

HAVE A QUESTION WE CAN ANSWER?

Send us an email at [email protected]

This article appeared in "Expanding Your Financial Horizons" (Q4-2017), a digital publication of the ASRS.

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