Cybersecurity and Identity Theft Guide

How to lock down your life to keep your data, finances and credit more secure


  • Use “long, strong” passwords combining letters, numbers and symbols — a different one on every account.
  • Look for security indicators, such as the green lock icon and URLs starting https://
  • Be suspicious of email links; instead, navigate directly to your bank, credit card or other website.

At home

  • Securely store documents with sensitive info; shred unneeded paperwork. Use a lockable mailbox.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network with a password; keep your browser, operating system and security software up to date.
  • Doublecheck financial and medical statements for signs of unauthorized use.

On the go

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi (a personal hotspot is more secure) and turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it.
  • Password-protect your mobile devices, and use a PIN on your cell phone account.
  • Never carry your Social Security card or information on account passwords or PINs.

Prevent ID theft, protect your data

How to Prevent Identify Theft

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Scammers want to get your personal information so they can access your accounts, open new credit in your name — even claim your tax refund or get medical services. Here’s what you can do.

Freeze Your Credit for Maximum Protection

A credit freeze keeps the sensitive data in your credit files from being accessed without your consent. That can block fraudulent credit applications, even if a criminal has key data such as your Social Security number.

Safeguard your financial life

How Serious a Crime Is Credit Card Fraud?

How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

As long as you report fraud promptly, you have little financial liability. But the headaches of canceling a card and revising autopay records make it more than worth your while to prevent.

» MORE: How to Dispute Fraudulent Charges

Store Credit Cards Can Leave You Unprotected

Be Your Own Bank Guard If Your Account Is at Risk

Act quickly if you see a suspicious charge or your debit card goes missing.

» MORE: 5 Mobile Banking Alerts to Help Fight Fraud

How to Make Online Banking More Secure

Tax Refund Theft

Latest IRS Scams: Know How to Spot Them and Fight Back

People lose millions of dollars a year to IRS scams. Don’t be one of them. Learn how to spot impersonators and bogus communications.

» MORE: State & IRS Tax Refund Tracker

How Long to Keep Tax Records — and How to Store Them

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses

Criminals don’t just target big fish like Equifax. One report found that businesses with under 99 employees faced an average cost of $36,000 after a cyberattack. Here’s what you can do to protect your business.