Manage your online accounts to reduce risk of ID theft

Topic: Online Account Management/ID Theft

Why shutting down unused accounts matter

Let’s face it, life is too busy. We spend a lot of time online managing our lives and connect with people. In fact, there are many online accounts we’ve created that we haven’t even used—perhaps in years. 

Think about it. We surf the web to conduct research, read news, connect with people we know and maybe people we don’t know, manage personal business, shop online and much more. We create an account for a specific need, but may not need it again so we forget about it.

But how important is it to delete unused accounts and passwords? In a word: VERY.

Cyber criminals work hard to steal information every day. Remember the data breach on Facebook last year? The company admitted more than 87 million user accounts were hacked.

Hackers love inactive accounts because it typically takes the user a while to discover his/her identity has been stolen or an unauthorized person accessed an online account.

Before Google, many of us surfed the web and had email accounts on Yahoo or AOL. When Yahoo was hacked in 2016, at least 3 billion active and inactive Yahoo accounts were breached, exposing the names, email addresses, birth dates and other information of the users and their contacts.

Old emails, unused logins to shopping sites, social media and dating sites leave digital footprints, even if these accounts are not active. Be vigilant about shutting down old accounts to protect yourself. 

To start, think about and prioritize any inactive accounts that have personal and/or financial information connected to them that could damage you. Go to these accounts and delete them. Some accounts are more difficult to delete than others. Visit the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page or Contact Us for help in deleting accounts. If an account cannot be deleted for some reason, change the password immediately and delete all personal information (e.g. posts, photos, videos, etc.).