You may already have a New Year’s resolution to eat better, exercise more or perhaps be a better steward of your hard-earned money. But what about your identity?

Data breaches are likely to continue to trend like the past couple of years, so the sooner you take action, the better! (There were 1,152 data breaches with a total of 171,653,785 records exposed in 2017, 980 data breaches with a total of 35,233,317 records exposed in 2016, and in 2015 there were 780 breaches exposing 177,866,236 records.)

Here are a few basic tips:

  1. Ensure that all of your devices and household items you connect to the Internet are secure with up-to-date software and password protection.

  2. Update all of your passwords to be strong, alpha-numeric-symbol based passwords that are at least 13 characters or utilize password protection software, such as 1Password.

  3. Check the anti-virus software on your computer to ensure it is up-to-date and regularly scans your machine.

  4. Shred any paperwork you do not need that contains any personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers, bank statements, etc. Anything that you do need to save (e.g. your tax returns which include your Social Security number) should be stored in a secure location.

  5. Avoid using free public Wi-Fi. While convenient, it is an unencrypted connection that hackers can use to access your devices.

  6. If you plan to travel this year, plan ahead with this infographic from expert John Sileo. It’s 5 simple things you can do before, during and after travel that will help prevent fraud… and a ruined vacation.

  7. Check the security settings on your social media profiles (e.g. Instagram and Facebook) to ensure you are not publically sharing private information.

Last, when you’re ready to make your next check purchase, make sure you add EZShield®. In the event of fraud, like check washing, you’ll receive support from a dedicated fraud specialist who will facilitate the advancement of up to $25,000 to cover missing monies, and they’ll also help return your identity to pre-theft status.