Now is the time for a cybersecurity check. Don’t wait!

There is a lot riding on a laptop as it accumulates information as someone goes about their life. It would be a very valuable asset for fraudsters and scammers.

So, how can someone protect themselves from intruders taking your information?

Report any fraud to your local police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Any kind of civil or criminal case is going to require a police report, and the sooner it’s reported, the better. Once that’s been taken care of, it’s important to go to identitytheft.gov, where a different report should be made.

Change all passwords

Use a password manager to generate gobbledygook passwords and no human will ever break them. LastPass or OnePass will remember them for you, and you only must remember one password to get into these programs. It is compatible with and synched to all of your other devices, too.

Facebook quizzes are a means to find out the answers to security questions

Most people know that Facebook is not a great steward of its users’ privacy, but many are shocked to find out just how much information they give away voluntarily.

Case in point: that quiz an Uncle Jeffrey sent over Messenger.

It’s curious that to find out which King of England you were in a past life, you have to enter the name of your elementary school. This is one way the hackers get to you and your FB connections.

Never give the right answers to security questions

Anybody can find out a mother’s maiden name or where someone went to school. That’s why for every website new answers should be made up to the security questions. Keeping track is easy with the LastPass password manager.

Never feel ashamed for getting scammed

A lot of people feel bad when they realize they have been scammed.

Embarrassment and shame lead to people thinking that they need to pay down fraudulent charges just to get them off their credit report — but that’s the worst thing to do. Credit card companies will view that as an admission that the charges are legitimate.

Filing charges against the credit card company can help get the charges reversed and let them know that something sketchy is going on with the account.

It’s important to first change the passwords on the credit card account and to get a new physical credit card since the information on it has been compromised.

Sometimes information is taken through leaks or sold from other companies that we have given our information to.

Getting scammed or having information stolen is a common enough occurrence where credit card companies have procedures to deal with it, so don’t feel poorly about it happening.

Cybersecurity is more important than people realize.

Most, if not all, of someone’s personal information is on the web. Trying to catch and hold onto it is a little harder to do now than it has been in the past, especially since some companies hide the ability to sell our information in their fine print.

We all need to be more diligent about when and where we are giving out our sensitive information. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

Judy Heft is the CEO/founder of Judith Heft & Associates, a financial and lifestyle concierge celebrating 26 years in business helping people stay financially organized. She is a certified money coach and the author of “How to Be Smart, Successful and Organized with Your Money.” For more information visit www.judithheft.com.