Have you ever become concerned about disposing your receipts or unneeded documents in a public trash bin? Well, maybe you should since identity thieves have been on the rise in recent years.
However, learning how to protect yourself against identity theft involves more than receipts and documents. Here is a brief look at some of the ways you can put identity thieves at bay.
Password Usage, Combinations and Updates
Identity theft occurs in various ways mostly when someone gains access to your SSN (social security number) or other personal information and uses them to commit fraudulent crimes. It could be a stolen wallet, credit card, email scams, phone hacks and access through unsecured wireless networks.
You can avoidup to 90% of hacking attempts by creating a strong password for all yourdevices and avoiding public unsecured networks. Remember to use long-tailcombinations of letters, special characters and numbers.
Avoid easy-to-remember passwords like pet name, date of birth, town or anything that can be traced back to you. More importantly, update and change your passwords regularly.
Share information cautiously
With the rise of social platforms, most people have found themselves quite vulnerable as they share pictures, feelings/perceptions and information that would otherwise be considered private. For instance, posting a picture on Instagram with your street name visible somewhere in a sign may expose where you live or neighborhood at least.
You should resist sharing personal information like date of birth, town, street address, phone number or any other information that can be used to authenticate your identity.
Secure all confidential personal and financial documents
Most people keep their personal documents stored in their personal computers. I keep some of my documents in my laptop, but there is a great risk in doing this without proper security. If you are going to use a PC to store personal documents, then you must take all necessary steps to boost security.
Make sure you install a firewall, secure your wireless networks and install an antivirus (antimalware and antispyware). You should also regularly update your browser, perform scans to locate any potential threats and update your passwords.
If you store hard copies, keep them in a secured location such as a safe at the back or at home; never leave them laying around or walk around with them in your wallet as you may easily lose them. If you are discarding documents, shred them to little pieces that cannot be rearranged or burn them.
Protecting your mobile devices
Modern conveniences and technologies have made it possible to shop, make transactions and bank from the comfort of your home or office using your mobile device. There are various online activities that demand the input of personal information including credit card details. Before you input such information, make sure you trust the platform100% and comprehend what it is all about.
Never download an app unless you trust the platform. If you can, only choose apps from the recommended provider store and make sure to gauge the reputation of the company. Look for reviews and ratings to understand what the app is capable of doing and the rights you allow when you click install.
Avoid Phishing Scams
Learning how to protect yourself against identity theft is a rugged road as identity thieves have various means to gain access to personal information thanks to the internet. Phishing is a common scam that hackers use to gain access to your personal details and computer.
Do not click on any email or link unless you know where it is coming from. Avoid scams claiming to come from banks or other trustworthy entities asking for confirmation/verification of personal information. No trusted entity will request private data before you sign up for an account within a heavily secured firewall.
Use spam filters and delete all spam emails without opening to read what they are about. Resist signing up to any page that looks fishy or fake.
There are other ways to protect yourself against identity theft including regularly checking your credit history and report from trusted bureaus. If you note anything suspicious or think your identity has been stolen, then act on it immediately by putting all your credit and banking accounts as you take on the issue with legal authorities. This should also be done if you accidentally lose your wallet, credit cards and other documents that contain personal information.
I believe the above mentioned practices will help you keep identity thieves at bay and seal the vulnerabilities they may think to exploit. Learn more about identity theft and how you can protect yourself.