Social media users should avoid revealing information that might be used in financial sites' security questions, such as birth date or maiden name.
If you haven't already, tell your financial institutions you don't want them to share your info with other companies.
Off-line transactions require caution, too
Avoiding the Web won't protect your credit card, debit card, or bank-account information. Bad guys can hack credit card databases or "skim" data off cards at ATMs and stores. Checks are no more secure, because the information needed to access your account — name, bank routing number, and account number — is printed on each one. So keep a watchful eye on your accounts, and order credit reports annually to ensure new accounts have not been set up in your name.
Liz Weston, author of The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy, blogs at asklizweston.com.