Did you know that 47% of Americans experienced identity theft in 2020?
Thanks to advancements in technology, you can now do essential tasks online. It’s much easier to manage your bank records, shop, and connect with people online than it has ever been. However, this convenience makes it more likely that you’ll become an identity theft victim.
Becoming a victim of identity theft means people can use your sensitive information to drain your financial accounts. Some even open new credit lines and put you in debt. Others will use you as a scapegoat in case authorities are looking for them.
Keeping your information secure helps prevent these things from happening to you. Read what we’ve prepared below to learn what you can do to avoid identity theft.
Dispose of Any Sensitive Information Properly
One way to protect your identity is to dispose of any file containing sensitive information. Delete any email that contains login information or has traces of your bank details as you’re finished reviewing them. This becomes even more important if others use the device you’re logged into.
Make sure you dispose of any physical copies of these files, too. Pass the papers through a shredder and dump the contents immediately.
If they’re too important to destroy, keep them locked away in a strong box or such. For important digital files, transfer them over to a secure device.
Use and Change Strong Passwords Often
The simplest way to protect your online profiles is to have a strong password. A strong password doesn’t simply mean that it’s long. Strong passwords are a jumble of characters with no obvious pattern when typed out.
Doing this makes it harder for hackers to brute force their way into your accounts. However, a strong password can only last so long when attacked by an automated hacking tool. This is why you should change your passwords up as often as you can.
It’s also a good idea to use different passwords for different accounts. This way, even when someone hacks into one of your accounts, you don’t compromise your entire online identity.
Freeze Your Credit
You use your credit details more often than anything else nowadays. Shopping for goods and paying bills will have you input your information every time if you want the payment to push through. Because of this, this information is always at risk of getting leaked.
Once someone gets a hold of this, they can easily access your data and use it as they wish. You can prevent identity theft here by freezing your credit. By doing so, no one can open your credit files and steal your information.
It’s easy to do this, and it’s free, too. You can also unfreeze it whenever you like by contacting your bank.
Be Careful of What You Share Online
One way people get a hold of your personal information is by tricking you into giving it to them. This often happens on website landing pages and emails. Such often masquerade as important emails or government websites to look more believable.
These are phishing scams and knowing how to spot them helps avoid identity theft. Urgency is among the most obvious identity theft warning signs. Websites and government bodies have no reason to compel you to give them your personal information right at that moment.
You should also be careful when opening attached files. Some may contain malware that can spread to your device at an alarming speed. They skim through your data and send back sensitive ones to their creators.
Carry Only What You Need for the Day
As mentioned above, identity theft happens not only online. There are a lot of ways it can happen to you in person, too. It often happens when people lose their wallets.
Either by theft or by accident, people can access your credentials with ease this way. The cards and receipts you have are enough to grant them access to your bank accounts and such.
You can prevent this from happening by limiting what you carry. Only bring what you’ll use, like your ATM or debit cards, for the day. This way, even when you lose your wallet, you can minimize potential damages faster.
Warn Your Family About the Different Types of Identity Theft
You can also be a victim of fraud through your family members. Other methods of target your siblings, parents, or even your cousins. There have even been over 1 million victims of child identity theft, and they can all lead back to you.
This all starts when people give your family members cards and contact them a few days later. Often, they act as salespeople or financial advisors to gain their victims’ trust. Most build quite the rapport to get them to lower their guards even further.
Once trusted, they then ask for information like your name, exact address, and such. To avoid this, all you need to do is warn your family. Doing this is enough to make them wary of what they share with strangers or even their friends.
Check on Your Financial Statements Often
You may not even know that you’re already a victim of identity theft. Most thieves only make small purchases under your name to remain incognito. These may go unnoticed for months and you’ll be none the wiser.
Keeping track of your financial statements every so often helps you avoid this. Make sure you have a good record of what you’ve spent since the last time you’ve checked.
If you see any discrepancy, contact your bank right away. You can also recover your losses by contacting the right lawyers. Financial Justice Now has the right lawyers to help you handle your case.
Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim
Keep your sensitive information safe by knowing what you need to do and avoid online and in real life. Prevent identity theft today and live your life with peace of mind!
Now that you know how to avoid becoming an identity theft victim, how about learning other ways to protect your data? Check out our other posts and guides to learn how to protect yourself online today!