While new credit card chips have cut down on in-store fraud, leading cyber security experts say criminals have changed their strategy by finding new ways to steal.

Source: Consumer Alert: Identity Theft Jumped 16 Percent in Past Year

According to NBC Nightly News, the cyber criminals remain active and on the prowl. Stealing identities every second of every day someone has their identity stolen. You can take steps to protect yourself, and steps to monitor your own identity for clues that it may have been stolen.

Steps to protect yourself

[alert type=”danger” dismissable=”true”]PASSWORDS![/alert]

Senior Online Safety - NSCAM Tip 3 - PasswordsOne password, one site … it is inconvenient, but it is the most secure. If you are using the same combination of name and password for all of your online engagements, you are placing your identity and your security of all your engagements in the hands of the entity which provides the worst possible security. The cyber criminals use their computers with scripts to attempt to log-in to as many accounts as possible using the combination of name and password which they were able to steal from the entity which did security the worst.
Read: Password and Password Maintenance

[alert type=”danger” dismissable=”true”]AUTHENTICATION![/alert]

Senior Online Safety - Two Factor AuthenticationAlways use the additional level of authentication when offered. SMS text messages are widely used, but are now have been shown to be less secure and one can expect it to be obsolete within the next 18-24 months. That said, any additional means to authenticate it is you logging in should always be used.

Read: Two Factor Authentication – A good idea

Monitor your identity and fiscal activity

Watch your credit cards, every day, for fraudulent activity. If you have had your identity stolen (and over 60% of the US population has had data lost in a data breach), put a freeze on your credit with the credit reporting agencies. This will prevent a cybercriminal who has obtained your social security number from a breach at a medical provider, for example, from opening up a credit card or taking out a lone in your name.

Challenge every request for your personal identifying information. If you are providing your social security number, passport or other government issued identification to an entity, as how it is going to be used and protected.