With the dawn of a new year comes new ways that crooks, hackers, and thieves are trying to gain access to your personal information. Whether it be stealing your credit card information or simply using technology AGAINST you to break into your home, you need to learn how to protect yourself. Here are 5 smart life hacks you can implement today that will keep your sensitive information and personal property safe.
1. Get RFID Protection
A friend of mine recently had his credit card information stolen by a crook who gently brushed up against his rear pocket as he walked a crowded Seattle street.
The thief had a device that used Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to steal his credit card number which they then transferred to a new blank credit card which was used immediately.
So how do you protect yourself from this growing trend?
Here are 3 easy solutions.
First, you can buy an inexpensive wallet or purse that has RFID protection built into it.
Here are a few affordable examples on Amazon.
- Slim Minimalist Leather Wallet for Men & Women – $12.99
- Baggallini Pocket Crossbody Bag w/ RFID-Protected Wristlet – $41.65
- Travel Neck Pouch Neck Wallet with RFID Blocking – $16.95
Second, you can simply stick a credit card sized piece of aluminum foil next to your credit cards which will “foil” the crook and not allow them to get your card numbers.
Third, make sure you have 2 chip embedded credit cards in your wallet or purse and place them next to each other.
This will essentially scramble their system and NOT allow them to steal your credit card information.
2. Slice Your Car Registration Sticker
Another growing trend is thieves peeling off your car registration sticker and using it as their own and thus avoiding the vehicle registration fee.
Here’s a cool hack that will easily protect you.
After you place the sticker on your car’s license plate, take a razor blade and firmly cut into the sticker a few times making a crossing pattern (see pic above).
Then when the thief tries to peel it off, they’ll quickly realize it’s an impossible task and move on to the next car.
3. Keep Your “Smart Home” Safe from Hackers
It seems as if everyone these days has a smart speaker, Amazon Echo, smart plug, or smart hub in their home.
But with this cool technology comes the added risks of hackers breaking into your system and stealing sensitive information, eavesdropping on you, or in some cases unlocking your front door or opening your garage door.
Here are some easy to implement steps to keep your “smart home” safe.
- Use a STRONG WiFi Password – Make sure your password has a capital letter and special character at they very minimum.
- Always Use 2-Factor Authentication – This is an extra layer of security that goes beyond just a username and password. You’ll typically need your smartphone or email account to authenticate.
- Keep Everything Updated – This will insure your smart devices are updated with the newest security measures.
- Reset Unwanted Smart Devices – By reset, I mean perform a complete factory reset of the smart device in case the unwanted product gets into the wrong hands.
Follow these steps and you should be good to go with smart home security for 2020 and beyond.
4. Protect Yourself From Gas Station Skimmers
Crooks are setting up credit card “skimmers” on gas station pumps in record numbers and this trend looks to continue in 2020.
Thieves steal your credit card information by opening a pump with a universal key (which can be bought for $5 on eBay) and quickly adding a device that steals your sensitive info when you slide your card.
But you can easily protect yourself with these 5 tips…
1. Check the Tape on the Pump – Whenever a gas pump is opened with a key, and the credit card slider is checked, the attendant puts a piece of tape on it to record the inspection. (See pic above)
If the tape is missing, cut, or altered, there’s a good chance the pump has been hit by skimmers. DON’T use that pump.
2. Pay with Cash – This is the most fool-proof way to protect yourself.
3. Avoid Using a Debit Card – If cash is not an option, use a credit card NOT a debit card. A credit card provides you protections that a debit card can’t.
4. Use Pump Closest to Building – Skimmers are less likely to hit these pumps as they can be easily spotted.
5. Pay Inside – Always pay inside if you’re forced to use a debit card.
5. Cover Up Your Laptop’s Webcam
A couple years ago the FBI came out and said it was a good idea to cover up your laptop’s webcam for security reasons.
I figure if the FBI recommends it, why not spend a second and stick a piece of tape over it or buy a webcam cover.
Then when I saw Mark Zuckerberg also had tape covering his webcam I knew it was a REALLY smart idea.
While a hacker is going to be REALLY bored if they gain access to my webcam, it still creeps me out that it’s a possibility.
So cover it up and fo’get ’bout it
Ask the Reader: Did I miss any clever hacks that keep your personal information safe? If you have any up your sleeve let me know in the comments below and I’ll investigate, thanks.
By Kyle James