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Consumer Insight

March 7, 2022

Cybersecurity Risk Management: How to Take Action Against Identity Theft

We rely on the internet to work, bank, shop, and socialize. Our health and financial information are stored online. Connected devices control everything from home security systems to thermostats and TVs. While convenient, these connections open the door for possible malicious activity. Help manage your cybersecurity risks, such as identity theft, with these tips from the NAIC. 


Identity theft is the unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account, use of your information to open a new account, and misuse of your information to commit fraud.  

Data thieves gain access to information from a variety of places, including your mailbox, home and business trash, public dumps, public records, and social media.  


How to identify your risk 

You are at risk if you store personal information on a home or work computer, or if you bank or shop online. The following scenarios may be signs of compromised data.  

  • You see unexpected withdrawals from your bank account. 

  • You don't receive your bills or other mail. 

  • You receive bills for health services you didn't use, or your health plan rejects a legitimate medical claim. 

Regularly check your credit report to ensure you don't see: 

  • A new account you did not open. 

  • Unfamiliar accounts listed. 

  • Negative items. 

How to keep your information safe online 

There are basic steps you can take to secure your information and data: 

  • Dispose of personal information by shredding documents using a cross-cut shredder. 

  • Use strict privacy settings on your computer, devices, and browsers. 

  • Keep passwords private, and do not write your passwords down. You may consider using a reliable password manager. 

  • Be mindful about the personal information you share on social media. 

  • Be cautious of what you download from the internet. Navigate directly to websites when you need to initiate a download. Don’t download anything or click links from sites or emails that someone sends you.  

  • If your Social Security number is requested by a vendor, ask why it's needed and how it will be used and protected.  

  • Remember that there is nothing wrong with telling someone that you aren’t comfortable sharing personal information. 

Keeping your information safe also means ensuring your devices, including smart phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, and other devices, are secure: 

  • Update your software regularly. 

  • Change your passwords regularly. 

  • Use two-factor authentication. 

  • Use antivirus or anti-malware software to protect against malicious software that disrupts computer operations, gathers sensitive information, gains access to private computers, or displays unwanted advertising. 

  • Password protect your laptop to prevent unknown users from accessing it. 

  • Avoid opening emails or attachments from unknown senders. 

  • Do not connect to public Wi-Fi. 

  • Back up your files to an encrypted flash drive or external hard drive. 


  1. Regularly check your credit report for warning signs of identify theft. 

  1. Take the recommended precautions. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has resources on how to avoid identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an identity theft website to report incidents and develop a recovery plan. 


About the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

As part of our state-based system of insurance regulation in the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides expertise, data, and analysis for insurance commissioners to effectively regulate the industry and protect consumers. The U.S. standard-setting organization is governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews, and coordinate regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally.