Identity theft can shatter your world and not in a good way. You could lose access to your financial accounts or find a surprise lien on your home. You could even be arrested if someone commits a crime under your identity. What can you do to avert these alarming possibilities? Here are some simple tips that can help you stay one step ahead of the thieves. None of this guarantees your safety against a thief who personally attacked you, but most criminals pursue the low-hanging fruit – the ones who can not protect themselves. These ten tips can help ensure that you and your identity are not easy to find.
. 1 Shred, Shred, Shred
Never manage bank statements, invoices, or documents that contain your personal information. Invest in a shredder for home and use it. If in doubt, shred!
2. Secure Your Documents
You do not need permanent access to important documents such as birth certificates, tax returns, social security cards, etc. Keep people in a refractory home. This is a better choice than a bank deposit box. The contents of the boxes are uninsured, and banks are known to ripen boxes and remove their contents without notice.
How about a locker box for your digital documents? By using encryption software, you can ensure that a snoop that gains access to your computer can not read your sensitive documents.
. 3 Activate Your Passwords
It is true that a breach of a secure site may expose your credentials to thieves, but you can mitigate the damage by using a different secure password for each secure site. Of course you need a password manager to update it.
. 4 Mama is the word
You must provide personal information if you want to have certain things, such as a mortgage or a new insurance account. However, at that point, you initiated the process and found that you are dealing with a legitimate business. When a company contacts you and asks you for personal information, whether by post, e-mail, or phone, press your lips. If you believe the contact is legitimate, ask for a chance to contact them after making some research.
. 5 Do not be fooled
It's nice to see technical support for technical support issues. However, do not be fooled by alleged technical support agents who call you or otherwise contact you . Yes, they may claim that your computer is sending out viruses and that you need to clean them up, otherwise you will be in trouble. They'll come up with wild stories, but at some point they'll ask for passwords or request remote access to your computer. Hang up.
6. Lock Your Phone
The smartphone in your pocket is the dream of an identity thief. Your email, instant messaging, social media, and other apps are probably signed in and available. It contains a wealth of personal information, including all your contacts. It is important to use a strong authentication method to lock the phone. A four-digit PIN is not enough and not too easy wiping pattern. Their best bet is biometric authentication such as fingerprint or face recognition such as the offered by iPhone X which is supported by an extremely strong passcode.
. 7 Phishing Is Not Phun
Installing a data-stealing Trojan on millions of computers is hard work. It is much easier to simply get the victims to reveal their testimonies. Phishing sites mimic banking and other sensitive websites in the hope that a poor juice will enter their username and password. You can even forward to the actual location. Do not give up your identity. If you obviously receive an e-mail from your bank, do not click on any links. Instead, register directly with the bank. Look for a secure HTTPS URL and a lock icon, and make sure the URL in the address bar is correct. And if your antivirus or browser calls a website fraudulent, stay away!
Phishing is also a problem in the workplace. In an attack known as spear phishing, malefactors create highly compelling emails designed to trick employees or executives into giving passwords or even transferring money into dodgy accounts. Be vigilant when using your business email.
. 8 Installation Protection
Every PC and laptop requires a powerful antivirus program or even an entire security suite. Some security suites provide theft protection for laptops; There are also stand-alone utilities that can lock and even recover a lost or stolen laptop. Security products for mobile devices typically combine antivirus and theft protection. Android devices are particularly vulnerable, but any device can be lost or stolen. Therefore install the protection.
Do not stop there; Also install a virtual private network or a VPN. Your local security software protects your data on your own devices while the VPN protects them on the way to the Internet. Using a VPN also serves to hide your personal IP address, which prevents sites from identifying your location based on that address.
. 9 Avoid Sharing
Sharing your posts and pictures with your friends on social media is fun, but you can share with identity thieves if you're not careful. It is very important to properly secure your social media. Check your privacy settings from time to time as the social media services are happy to make changes.
0th Receive Free Credit Reports
Receive a free credit report each year from the three major credit agencies. You can sign up for TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. Yes, the Equifax violation has provided 143 million Americans, but the company is still in business. Here is a trick; do not get them all at once. Get one after the other at intervals of four months. This gives you better overall coverage. Also, remember to sign up for the free, ad-supported credit karma service that closely monitors your credit score.
Another thought. You've certainly seen advertising that promises identity theft protection. In truth, these services can not really prevent identity theft, but they can be very helpful in dealing with the consequences. Think carefully about what identity theft protection services do (and do not do), and then decide if you're ready to pay for the service.
You do not have to change your life completely to protect against identity theft. Follow these ten simple tips, and you have a very good chance of preventing the theft.