In this age of high speed internet and technology where people love to shop online and are using several tech gadgets to get things done, identity theft has reached outbreak ratios. There is large number of scams in this digital world and they all engage a criminal making up to be someone else in order to steal someone’s money out illegally, take out illegal loans or buying goods online in the name of the victim.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft or identity fraud is a most common crime nowadays in which a scammer or fraud gets the hold of key information, such as personal identification number, social security number or license number of an individual in order to provide these information to someone else for an illegal activity or deception.
In the whole process of identity theft, a thief might hack into a database to obtain personal information or use old fashioned ways to steal information such as by dumpster diving, or retrieving personal paperwork and unnecessary mail from public trash as well as from the trash of the businesses etc.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Fraud or Theft
Here are the useful identity theft protection tips that someone can take as preliminary steps in order to prevent identity fraud.
Be cautious for shoulder-surfers
Always make sure that no one is staring at you while entering a personal identification number in ATM machine, credit card number while making online purchases or when unlocking your personal computer at work. Using a fingerprint scanner and face detention system would be a best way to protect yourself from identity fraud.
Keep your Social Security number safe
Never every take your social security card with you if it is unnecessary. You can also ask for an alternate number from the company or business if you are using it for health care plan or for any other reason because knowing your full name, address and Social Security Number can let a thief to take your identity for illegal use.
Use HTTPS sites whenever possible
Using the websites with HTTPS protocol is one of the best identity theft protection tips as such sites are secure to browse and share your personal details. All information shared on HTTPS websites will be encrypted and help you prevent identity theft while making purchases online via credit cards.
Choose strong passwords for your online accounts
Week or repetitive passwords are known as major causes of identity theft in these days as criminals love passwords because they open doors to your most personal and confidential information stored in online accounts or websites. Always use different password for each of your accounts and make all the passwords strong by using a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
Shared everything that includes your personal details
As it is mentioned in recent lines that identity thieves can acquire your personal information through dumpster-diving, you should always shred everything that can cause identity theft. If you are throwing your expired credit cards, ATM cards, bills, or bank statements out, you are making the biggest mistake that can lead you towards identity fraud.
Wipe out digital data carefully
You can prevent identity theft by destroying all your waste or useless digital data. When you sell your old personal computer to someone, dispose of the damaged hardware, or throw a CD/DVD away, always make sure that the digital data is completely and irrevocably destroyed before. You can also avail services that offer identity protection in order to keep your personal details and information safe in any possible way.
Do not keep passwords in printed form
Having your passwords in written would be a great idea for you if you often forget passwords of your online accounts, but you should don’t keep them in printed form. A lot of secure password solutions like LastPass or 1Password are available that can be used to remember passwords without letting others know about them.
Check your statements
You should often check your credit card and bank statements in order to prevent identity theft. During the process if any unauthorized charges or payments are found, report them immediately to the concerned department and take the required action to make things in your favor.
Checking the telephone calls is also one of the identity theft protection tips as it enables you to track and strange calls and numbers in your calling list to prevent identity fraud.