Data Privacy Day is an international holiday that occurs every January 28. It began in the United States and Canada in January 2009 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration first in Europe in 2007.
Data Protection Day commemorates January 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
Data Privacy Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the privacy of personal information online as well as to unite privacy professionals worldwide in its celebration.
As the online marketplace, social media networks, and the overall number of data sharing opportunities continue to grow online, data privacy and security need to be at the forefront of all individual’s.
Last year, Equifax one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies had a data breach exposing a 143 million American consumers sensitive personal information. I was one of them.
So far, so good I have had no ill effects related to the breach. I do however regularly monitor my credit report and have several automated steps in place to catch and prevent fraud. Here are a few tips to help detect and prevent your information from being misused.
Check your Credit Reports
Consider using a free tool like Credit Karma which will email you if they see any changes to your report. Periodically check all accounts, if you find an activity that you don’t recognize this could be an indication of identity theft.
Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A freeze restricts access to your credit report, which means creditors will not be able to see it and be willing to extend you any credit. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
Monitor all Existing Accounts
Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts carefully for charges you don’t recognize. Automation is the key, and most accounts allow you to set transaction alerts for specific triggers like purchase amount threshold, online transactions, and international purchases. Transaction alerts can be sent via email or text notifications.
A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is you. If you suspect wrongdoing, a fraud alert is an extra measure of protection. To place a fraud alert, you’ll need to contact one of the three credit reporting companies.
File Taxes Early
Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to get a tax refund. To help prevent this situation as soon as you have all of your tax information you need to file. This action beats the scammer to the punch. Also never card your physical Social Security card with you to avoid it being lost or stolen.
Tax Season is just about upon us, and in the United States alone 92% of all citizens will file their taxes online. That makes for a lot of potential identity theft targets over the first quarter of the new year.
I have filed my taxes online for years, and just last year began teaching my twin son and daughter how to do the same. My three children perform more routine tasks virtually, without paper than I ever had at their age, keeping personal data private and safe grows more critical every day.
The Bureau of Justice estimated 17.6 million persons or 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft in 2014.
Here are some great tips on how you can stay safe this tax season.
As our online transactions increase, we need to continue to educate ourselves about fraud and identity theft and take the necessary steps to protect and secure our personal data.
Have you ever been a victim of fraud or identity theft? What steps have you put in place to help avoid these situations? Were you aware that January 28 is Data Privacy Day?