Each year, millions of people are impacted by identity theft. Since 2010, it has exponentially increased with at least 12 million people affected. If that’s not something to worry about, then maybe this is: it takes over 600 hours to restore your reputation and identity after falling victim to identity theft. Listed below are steps and tips to take in preventing yourself against identity theft.
1. Make good and strong passwords. Choose words and phrases that no one would be able to guess. If you have difficulty thinking of your own password that no one else would be able to guess, try some free password generators online. Good passwords should always have capital letters, numbers, and be at least 12 characters long.
Also remember to never use the same password for any other websites. If any hackers do get access to one account, they won’t be able to get access to all your other ones without knowing your other passwords.
2. When making a PIN number, avoid easily guessed numbers like your birth year, social security number, birth date, or phone number.
3. Beware of phishing scams. Phishing involves the sending of emails that appear to be harmless. Then, once you click on them and open the attachments or links given, you are flooded with downloads you didn’t agree on or asked to confirm what your passwords, social security numbers, etc. are.
Any such email should set off a red flag. Other phishing scams can include false lottery wins – letting you know that you’ve won big on the lottery. They’ll then ask you your banking information, social security number, and passwords. This is where the scammers have access to who you are and all of your money.
4. Take care when shopping online. Always make sure that when you’re shopping the web address contains “https” instead of “http”. If it contains “http” the website is not secure and should not be used. You can also try having a separate credit card for shopping online. This will make it easier to tell if your information has been compromised. It will also prevent hackers from getting access to your “real” credit card.
5. Never open/answer unsolicited and unwanted emails. If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t open it, and definitely don’t answer any questions asked. If you do answer the email, it confirms to the hacker that you are a real person. Aside from identity theft, there could also be viruses looming within the email. Once opened, your computer is compromised and filled with viruses.
6. Carry your wallet or bag safely. Even if you think you live in a safe area, thieves can be looming, ready to take your belongings once you’re not paying attention. Listed below are some ways to discourage the possibility of your wallet and information from being stolen.
* Never leave your belongings unattended. Unattended belongings are an easy target for any would-be thieves. Always keep an eye on your things. This simple step can save your identity and your money.
* Never leave your wallet in a pocket where it’s hanging out. This leaves your wallet exposed and easy for anyone to take.
* If you use a purse, don’t carry it on one shoulder. It’s easily snatched that way. If you can, carry it across your body.
7. Shred any documents that have your confidential information on it. Don’t just throw away those old billing statements and other documents. People may go through your garbage and find all of your banking and personal information. Shredding your paperwork will prevent unwanted people from gaining control of who you are and your money.
Your identity is who you are so you don’t want some stranger to take that away from you. You always want to protect yourself from the inevitable, so it’s important that you know how to protect yourself from something like your identity being stolen.