The past few years have seen a huge surge in data breaches and identity theft. In addition to major breaches of high-profile corporations, a study from Javelin Strategy & Research reported that a new case of identity fraud occurred every two seconds in the United States last year.

 

“Everyone is aware of the problem, but many people feel powerless when it comes to keeping their identities safe from criminals,” said Mike Sullivan, a spokesperson with Take Charge America, a national nonprofit financial education and credit counseling agency. “Thieves are getting smarter, but at the same time, consumers don’t realize that many of their online behaviors are putting their IDs at risk.”

 

Sullivan offers this tip to help consumers ensure their financial safety online:

 

Keep personal information personal: Don’t give out your Social Security number or financial account details to an organization you don’t trust – and never to someone who calls or emails you to verify your personal information. Financial institutions don’t solicit this information in an unsecured manner.