Learn how to identify your risk and the basic steps you can take to protect your online information and data
Indianapolis — We rely on the internet to work, bank, shop and socialize. Our health and financial information is stored online. Connected devices control everything from home security systems to thermostats and televisions. Although these connections are handy, they open the door for possible malicious activities. Help manage your cybersecurity risks like identity theft with these tips from the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Identity theft is the unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account, using your information to open a new account, and misusing your information to commit fraud.
Data thieves gain access to information from a variety of places, including your mailbox, household and commercial trash, public dumps, public records, and social media.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
How to recognize your risk
You are at risk if you store personal information on a home or work computer, or if you bank or shop online. The following scenarios can indicate compromised data:
- You see unexpected withdrawals from your bank account.
- You will not receive your bills or other mail.
- You receive bills for health care that you did not use, or your health plan is denying a valid medical claim.
Check your credit report regularly to make sure you’re not seeing:
- A new account that you have not opened.
- Unknown accounts listed.
- negative articles.
How to protect your information online
There are basic steps you can take to secure your information and data:
- Dispose of personal information by shredding documents with a cross-cut paper shredder.
- Use strict privacy settings on your computer, devices and browsers.
- Keep passwords secret and don’t write down your passwords. You can consider using a reliable password manager.
- Be careful about the personal information you share on social media.
- Be careful what you download from the internet. Navigate directly to websites when you need to start a download. Do not download or click on links from websites or emails that someone sends you.
- If your social security number is requested by a provider, ask why it is needed and how it will be used and protected.
- Remember, there’s nothing wrong with telling someone you don’t want to share personal information.
Keeping your information safe also means keeping your devices, including smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets and other devices safe:
- Update your software regularly.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Use anti-virus or anti-malware software to protect yourself from malicious software that disrupts computer operation, collects confidential information, gains access to private computers, or displays unwanted advertisements.
- Password protect your laptop to prevent unknown users from accessing it.
- Avoid opening emails or attachments from unknown senders.
- Back up your files to an encrypted flash drive or external hard drive.
TOP THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Check your credit report regularly for red flags of identity theft. Indiana residents are eligible for a free credit report each year. To request a free credit report, see https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/free-credit-reports#:~:text=Federal%20law%20gives%20you%20the,TransUnion)%20at%20AnnualCreditReport.com .
- Any Indiana resident can apply for a credit freeze at no cost. There are no fees for Indiana residents to place, suspend, remove, or request a new password or PIN.
- Indiana residents may file an identity theft complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Visit in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/id-theft-prevention/complaint-form/ to find links to the form.
- That Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) contains resources for preventing identity theft. That Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an identity theft website to report incidents and develop a recovery plan.
About the Indiana Department of Insurance
That Indiana Department of Insurance protects Indiana’s insurance customers by monitoring and regulating the financial strength and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The IDOI monitors insurance companies and agents to ensure they comply with government laws to protect consumers and provide them with the best selection of insurance products available. The IDOI also assists Hoosiers with insurance issues and provides guidance on understanding how insurance policies work. Visit the IDOI at www.IN.GOV/IDOI