1) Keep your home address off your GPS. An identity thief or burglar who steals your GPS can find your home and, if you store your schedule on the same device, know when you will be gone.
2) Do not respond to suspicious texts. Contact the sender by phone for verification before sending any information in response to a text.
3) Store contacts by first name. By listing contacts as Dad, Wifey, etc., you’re inviting a thief to contact them for personal information. Would-be thieves can quickly contact unsuspecting contacts with questions like “What’s our bank PIN again?” before anyone knows your phone is missing.
4) Delete personal data. If you plan to sell your phone, be sure to remove photos, passwords and contacts. If you are unsure of how to do that, take the phone to your network provider and ask for assistance.
5) Only download ringtones from reputable sites. Thieves may create phony sites to capture personal data.
6) Carry electronic devices separately. A purse, cell phone, and GPS make a great combination for a thief.
7) Keep your phone locked. Many people don’t, which only makes it easier for a thief to get at your information.
8) Don’t share too much information on social networking sites. For example, don’t list your full birthdate or your address. This is key information thieves use to set up false accounts in your name. Also, don’t post vacation photos until after vacation. Why advertise an empty house and easy access to mail possibly containing personal information?
As our electronic devices get smarter, we humans also need to get smarter in how we protect our personal information. Many people think identity or data theft will never happen to them, but chances are you already know someone who has had their personal information stolen or used by thieves. Take a few easy steps now to help keep yourself from being the next victim.