Data breaches practically have their own segment on the evening news. It seems like every day a major brand or store chain is reporting that thousands of accounts have been compromised. For many, the resulting risk of compromised data is nothing more than background noise. But physicians cannot become complacent. A doctor’s identity is a highly attractive prize for a would-be thief. According to a survey conducted by the data security company, LifeLock, high-income earners, like physicians, may face an increased risk of being targeted by identity thieves. Because your income tends to be in a higher range than other career paths, and you have a larger data footprint than the average consumer. This means that you have a wider range of shopping destinations, multiple credits cards, and disposable income that gives you access to more spending opportunities. Each of these financial activities is one more chance for an identity thief to obtain your information and use it to their own advantage.

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Having a higher education also puts a target on your back for identity harvesting. According to AARP, if you have a college education or a post-graduate degree, like a medical degree, you are 10% more likely to be targeted. And with an MD or DO on most of your correspondence, your status is very much on display, so take extra precautions to protect yourself. Some simple steps to take include:

  • Password protection. Most doctors groan when it comes to password security. It’s annoying enough to remember the passwords you have! Despite this, always opt for two-step verification when it is available and consider using a password service to add an extra layer of security.
  • Q&A fake out. Another clever tip is to give the incorrect information for the security questions on websites (Just be sure to remember what you wrote!). For example, when they ask you for your first pet’s name say “tire tracks” or something random.
  • Mail mayhem. Believe it or not snail mail is still a huge source of identity theft mining. Don’t let your mail linger in your mailbox for days and make sure it is stopped when you go on vacation.
  • Consider a security service. If you are admittedly dreadful at managing your identity theft protection, then perhaps you should investigate a service that will do it for you. This does not absolve you from all the commonsense safety measures we all should take, but it can give you extra protection to combat your exposure as a doctor.