Safety & Security

Three Signs I’m Staying On Top of This Digital Thing

Life just hums along and sometimes, you get little signs that you’re doing OK. For now.

Here are three recent notifications I’ve received that let me know I’m being proactive about staying safe online in our increasingly complicated, and at times hazardous, digital world.

1. My Computer and All Its Data – BACKED UP

Carbonite, the service I use for automated, remote backup of my entire computer, sent my January summary to let me know everything is safe and sound.

My Computer and All Its Data - BACKED UP

If I’m the victim of ransomware or theft, or lose my computer in a flood or fire – I’m set. No precious family photos, videos, or other important data files are lost. Stop right here, do not pass GO if you don’t have a backup system in place!

2. Credit Report – MONITORED

For a few extras dollars tacked on to my homeowner’s insurance policy, I have a credit monitoring service that sends a monthly notice of changes, if any, that have been reported in my credit file. Usually it says what you see here: no reported changes.

Credit report - MONITORED

I know it’s working because one time I applied for a new credit card, and sure enough, it kicked off a change alert to let me know.

This is important because identify theft does more damage and is MUCH harder to reverse than other types of online crime like credit card fraud, where the card issuer often covers the loss.

As identify theft crime continues to increase, ANYTHING you can do to protect your identity and credit is worth it.

I just shopped around for homeowner’s insurance and here’s one example: only 12 extra dollars per year to carry Identity Fraud Expense coverage. You get “personal access to an identity theft resolution expert who will help you to quickly and efficiently restore your good name”, plus up to $15,000 to cover expenses.

For $12. Worth it.

3. Anti-virus Protection – UPDATED

Avast is a free anti-virus (or anti-malware) program that, again, runs quietly in the background and every so often pops up with an alert to say it’s still doing its job.

Anti-virus Protection - UPDATED

Hackers are always one step ahead, so it’s important to find a reputable program and use it. Note Windows 10 and up users: you have Windows Defender, built-in firewall and antivirus protection. Make sure it’s turned on.

Next, I will be looking into credit freezes for me and my kids. In the meantime, stay safe!

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