Your Fitness Tracker Could Lead to Identity Theft

Six in 10 Americans track their regularly according to a Pew Research Center study. Do you? If so, you may use a fitness tracker. It's a convenient way to meet your health and wellness goals, but it also can lead to identity theft. Take precautions as you get and stay healthy.

What is a Fitness Tracker?

You used to need a pencil and notebook to track your daily calories and exercise routines. Now, you can wear a device on your wrist or waistband that calculates how many calories you burn each day, how many steps you walk at work and how well you sleep. By 2018, as many as 780 million fitness trackers will be in use.

The information collected by your fitness tracker is synced to your computer or smartphone. Use the data to measure your progress, meet fitness goals and achieve your desired weight.

Who Has Access to Your Fitness Tracker Data?

It might seem strange that anyone would want to know how you sleep or how much you walk. However, fitness trackers can also include data like your gender, age, height and weight. This data can be valuable to companies that wish to market their diet, exercise and wellness products to consumers like you.

Additionally, fitness trackers offer real-time and location-based tracking. Burglars with access to that data know where you live, when you're home and when you're away from home. You and your family could be at risk.

How do you Protect Yourself?

Protect yourself from identity theft when you take five steps.
  1. Review the privacy policy of your fitness tracker. It will tell you who has access to your personal information and if the company sells or shares your data. The policy should also tell you if your data is encrypted, where it's stored and how long it's stored for. Contact your fitness tracker provider if you can't find this information.

  2. Disable location tracking. Don't share your location with social media sights, and turn off your Bluetooth when it's not in use.

  3. Use strong passwords. Mix letters, numbers and symbols in a unique password that you keep secure from others.

  4. Don't use unsecured networks. Instead of transmitting data from a public place, wait until you're home and on your secure network.

  5. Install updates. When security fixes are available for your device and its app, install them.
Your fitness tracker is an invaluable tool in keeping you healthy. Take several precautions as you prevent identify theft and stay safe. You can also talk to your insurance agent about identity theft protection coverage that gives you added peace of mind.
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