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Spring Cleaning: Declutter Your Digital Life to Fight Fraud

Spring is in the air, inspiring us all to get a fresh start by decluttering, organizing and cleaning our homes. As you tidy up your living space, don't forget about your digital spaces, too.

Just like your home, your digital life can become cluttered and disorganized, exposing you to risks such as identity theft and credit card fraud. The good news is that a few simple steps will go a long way in protecting your personal and financial data.

Be sure to add these cyber spring cleaning tasks to your to-do list:

#1: Refresh your passwords

A strong, unique password is your first line of defense against hackers who want to steal your personal and financial data. That's why it's important to avoid using the same password across multiple accounts and update those passwords every few months. Try creating a passphrase using lyrics from your favorite song or the title of your favorite book or movie. Include at least 12 characters and substitute symbols for letters, such as “$" for an “s" or “!" for “I." Experts say it can take hackers over five years to crack a passphrase that's 12 characters or longer. If they can't get it within a few minutes, they'll move on.  ​

Another tip is to turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible, which adds another layer of security to your accounts beyond just a username and password. For example, you can choose to receive a one-time code via text message or phone call to access your account, which will help increase your security and keep cybercriminals out.

#2: Update systems and software

Don't ignore security software or operating system update alerts for your devices, apps and web browsers. These updates help secure your data and protect against hackers, so make sure you have the latest versions. Better yet, set up automatic updates so you don't even have to think about it!

#3: Back up important files

Losing important documents, photos and sensitive records can be stressful — whether at work or at home. Consider creating automatic backups and using an external hard drive or cloud-based storage to help ensure you're able to recover important data.

#4: Review privacy settings

Some apps request access to personal information like your contacts, location, camera, photo library and even your keyboard. Take some time to review and customize your privacy settings on apps, including social media platforms. If you're not using an app, delete it to avoid unnecessary data collection.

#5: Share with care

Social media can make it easy to overshare with people we don't know in “real life." By gathering information about you, your family and friends, cybercriminals can commit social phishing attacks and other social engineering scams. Even something as simple as where you work, where you went to high school or your mother's maiden name can be enough to put your online identity at risk.

This spring, take some time to review your social media accounts, including your profile information, photos, videos and friends list. Remember, you can always adjust your account settings to control who sees your posts.

Stop Fraud This Spring

At Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU), our first priority is keeping our members' accounts and information safe and secure. Join us in being proactive about fraud prevention by “spring cleaning" your digital presence and staying vigilant against the latest scams.

Ready for more helpful fraud prevention tips, tools and resources? Visit our fraud prevention page for up-to-date information to help you prevent, detect and correct fraud.