As we go to press, Toyota, Planet Hollywood and Facebook are the latest data breach victims. In March, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry announced it would allot $3.25 million to compensate victims of an alleged data breach.
In 2018, the number of records exposed by U.S. breaches was up 126% from 2017, reports the Identity Theft Resource Center. Also, identity theft can occur at organizations of any size. For example, in a practice, an employee could target an optometrist’s personal information or financial records.
Here, Rob Douglas (identitytheftinfo.com ), a nationally recognized identity theft expert, weighs in on how O.D.s can protect themselves.
• Place a security freeze on your credit file. “By placing an ongoing security freeze on your credit file at all four major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis, which is free and can be temporarily removed in order to open a new credit account, new account fraud can be thwarted,” he explains.
For information, visit the credit bureaus’ websites. (See https://bit.ly/2jcGDnj as an example.)
Also, everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report annually, which can be obtained at annualcreditreport.com, or for Innovis, visit www.Innovis.com .
• Do business with companies that require multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication requires more than one way to authenticate an identity (e.g. birthdate and PIN) to gain access to information or make a purchase, providing an extra layer of protection from identity thieves.
• Use Passphrases. A passphrase is harder for hackers to crack, Mr. Douglas points out. Additionally, at least 12 characters protect from brute force attacks, reports CNET. A passphrase example: “Optometric management wants Your practice to be #1.”
Consider tweaking a passphrase to make it unique for each account, says Mr. Douglas. “For example, If you have a Capital One credit card, “Optometric management and CapOne want Your practice to be #1.”
• Self monitor your identity. Once a month, review your accounts. “Identity thieves are re- lentless in looking for new ways to breach a company’s security protocols, and many have,” says Mr. Douglas. OM
Mr. Douglas reports no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned above.