How to stay protected after the Equifax hack

Did you know that someone’s identity is stolen every 2-3 seconds? Or that the average loss per identity theft is around $5,000? How about the fact that it takes an average of 600 hours to recover from identity theft? Fraud and identify theft are a growth industry. As evidenced by the recent Equifax hack exposing the sensitive data of more than 145.5 million Americans, the number of incidents, the cost of mitigation, and the sophistication of cybercriminals are all on the rise.

At Azzad, we take measures to protect your identity, data, and assets from these types of threats. For instance, we encrypt client information using tools like Sharefile and Docusign when we send and receive paperwork from you. We also call you to confirm all trade and money movement instructions, and we verify your identity before we release information. Our custodial partners also have measures in place to protect you. In addition to verifying bank links with micro-deposits before using them, they also require two-factor authentication before giving access to your information.

Now that you’ve seen what we do, here are three things you can do:

  1. Protect your money – If you get a call from someone claiming to be a financial institution but you have your doubts, get off the phone immediately and do not call any phone numbers they provide. You can always contact the institution directly to authenticate the call.
  2. Safeguard email accounts – Exercise caution when reviewing unsolicited email. This means not clicking on links or opening attachments if you don’t know the recipient. If you know the person but aren’t expecting a file from them – consider making a validating phone call. Your friend, family member or business associate may have been hacked.
  3. Be strategic with usernames and passwords – cybercriminals know that most people use the same or very similar passwords on multiple accounts to make it easier to remember the password. In fact, cybercriminals count on it because the tendency is so common. The reason using the same password makes it easier for you to remember your password equates to making it much easier for these criminals, too. They guess a password and then reuse it to access all their victims accounts quickly, making the devastation thorough and fast. So while it’s tempting to keep passwords memorable by reusing them, it’s really like offering cybercriminals the key to your palace.

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