Five Actions Consumers Should Take Today to Help Keep their Data Protected

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To help kick off Data Privacy Day 2014, Identity Guard provides privacy protection tips every consumer needs to help get them started on being their own data privacy advocate.

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Managing data privacy requires a two-prong approach; identifying the information you want to keep private and taking the appropriate steps to keep that information protected.

In a statement released last week, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) estimated that more than 740 million records were exposed in 2013, making it the worst year for data breaches recorded to date. As a Data Privacy Day Champion, Identity Guard®, a leader in identity theft protection, provides important privacy protection tips to encourage consumers to learn to be aware of and manage their digital footprint. With the concept of “Big Data” taking center stage and the increase in data breach incidents, consumers need to be more aware of what data about them is out there, how it’s being used, and, most importantly, how to keep it protected.

“Managing data privacy requires a two-prong approach; identifying the information you want to keep private and taking the appropriate steps to keep that information protected,” said Steve Schwartz, President of Identity Guard. “As modern conveniences have simplified our lives, they have also made personally identifiable information more accessible to more companies and third parties. It’s important for consumers to be proactive and be selective with the information they share, how they share it, who they share it with, and how it’s protected. ”

Identity Guard offers the following tips to help get consumers started on the right path to protecting their information:

  • Give yourself an ‘identity audit’. The New Year is a good time to make a list of all of your online accounts, both personal and financial, including those of children and teens. Review what information is stored within each account, and familiarize yourself with the website’s privacy policy. Avoid sites that require you to share more information than what you are comfortable with.
  • Reset your account credentials. A strong password should be at least eight characters long, consisting of a mix between upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should never include any part of your name, birthdate, address, or account number – anything that could easily identify you. Never use the same password across accounts. Consider using a password protection tool like the ID Vault® that encrypts and stores usernames, passwords, and credit card information in one secure place.
  • Give your PC and Mobile Devices a checkup. Ensure your PC and mobile devices have up-to-date anti-virus software installed. If you do not have an anti-virus program installed, take a few minutes now to review the different options that are available and be sure the product you select is from a well-known and reputable company.
  • Think before you share. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but be cautious about the information you share and who you share it with. Check your privacy settings for each social network you have an account with and make sure it’s set to private. Not everyone in the world needs to know you got a new job or you are moving to a new home.
  • Monitor your identity. Billions of bytes of data are constantly on the move across the globe and you can be your own best advocate for keeping your identity in check. It’s more than just monitoring financial statements and credit reports; it’s also about monitoring your personal information. Consider enrolling in a comprehensive identity monitoring service, like Identity Guard® Total Protection®, that proactively monitors your personal and financial information; promptly alerting you when certain suspicious activity is detected.

For more helpful tips on how you can help protect your identity during the tax season, visit

About Identity Guard
Identity Guard is a proactive identity and credit protection service that delivers premium solutions to help busy families and individuals take control over their personal and private information. Our services help educate and empower individuals to protect themselves from the growing threat of identity theft with premier identity protection and credit monitoring solutions. Identity Guard is provided by Intersections Inc. (NASDAQ: INTX), which, since 1996, has protected more than 36 million consumers.

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Leslie Garrett
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