When it comes to safeguarding your data, it is common to overlook things that go beyond encrypting your computer data or password protecting it. Yet, it doesn’t take much to protect yourself from scammers or hackers, and it doesn’t cost anything.

The simplest ways to safeguard your information are to use your common sense and stay cautious, but to help you know what to look out for, here’s a list of 5 ways to protect yourself:

  1. Be cautious when shopping online – Only provide your information to legitimate business websites. Check sketchy sites at Scam Adviser before making your purchase.
  2. Keep all of your private information safely locked up – If you have important documents, keep them in a locked cabinet or other restricted access location to prevent snooping guests from seeing things they shouldn’t.
  3. Never just throw out your personal information – If it has personal information on it (prescription bottles, credit card applications, check stubs, even junk mail), you risk identity theft from trash snoopers (they do exist). Make sure to destroy all identifying information before throwing anything away.
  4. Make sure to ask why – Applications, forms, and personnel always ask for your personal information, make sure you know why they need it before handing it out and always learn about their privacy policy.
  5. Don’t give out personal information via telephone – When companies that you legitimately conduct business with call, they will not need you to verify private information. If the caller is being vague or evasive about why they are calling, or what company they are calling from, hang up. If the call seemed legitimate, call the company using contact information from their website or your contract documentation and let them know about the call you received.