Identity theft is a major issue for American families. According to the Statistics Brain Research Institute, there are (on average) 12.1 million identity fraud victims in the United States each year.

To protect your family, finances and data, here are some ways to help you identify how hackers steal your information online, and what you can do about it.

1. Free Wi-Fi

Do you know who you’re sharing your internet connection with? Maybe you don’t care, but you probably should, because they might be tapping into your computer. Because public Wi-Fi connections aren’t password protected and can be used by anyone, you put yourself at risk.

How do hackers access your computer? Dell explains, “But because your data is being sent through radio waves to a router, it can easily be intercepted by someone who has the right tools and knowledge.”

To avoid giving prying eyes access to your computer, set up a personal hotspot instead. If that option is unavailable, just make sure you trust whoever is hosting the free Wi-Fi access and make sure that it is password protected. Never use or submit any sensitive information online (social security number, credit card info, etc.) when you’re not using a secure connection.

2. Cloud drives

Contrary to popular opinion, just because you save your files on a cloud drive, doesn’t mean they are safe (or even reliable). The Tech Times reported that, “Cloud hacking isn’t as hard as most would think.” If you’re worried about privacy and data ownership, then stay away from the cloud.

Instead, consider using an archival-quality storage solution. Unlike cloud drives, archiving technology is a safer, much more reliable way to store your pictures and sensitive documentation.

Yours.co offers a monthly archiving subscription service. Instead of worrying about steep storage fees and encrypting files online, simply set up an account on Yours.co and let us do all the work. We will safely burn your files onto a disc and mail it to you each month.

3. Email

No matter what email service you use, there is always the chance that someone could somehow hack into your account and lock you out. Security Week warned readers that email hacking is, “a bigger problem than you think.” Once a hacker gets in, they can look through all of your information and potentially use your account to spam your friends or spread viruses.

Make sure you use every security measure possible to protect your account. Google allows you to select a 2-step verification option that will send you a numerical code via text every time you sign onto a new device. (You will have to input the code in order to access your account.) Google will also send you an email notification every time you login that includes the location of the login and alerts you if it looks fishy.

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