Technologies have made living easier for all people, thanks to the advancements and innovations that have been witnessed in the business in recent years. Despite the many advantages technology offers anyone, untrustworthy individuals such as hackers and scammers have discovered a myriad of ways to make use of technology to scam innocent individuals out of their hard-earned money. Identity theft is now an issue that is very serious, especially when you’re highly active on the internet or have a lot of financial transactions on the internet.
Nowadays, a lot of websites ask you to provide your financial information in an effort to ensure that your financial transactions or payments are smooth and effortless. However, it is possible to provide your financial data without knowing it to a fraudulent or malicious website. This could be disastrous for your finances and your overall mental health.
In addition to losing important funds as a result of the breach of your personal information your identity may be stolen, and later used to commit crimes that could land you in legal trouble and endanger your reputation. In spite of the risks that abound on the internet, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid accessing the internet ways to limit your exposure to the risk of identity theft. There are steps that you can implement to minimize or eliminate the risk of having your identity theft.
7 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft
1. Protect and secure your social security number
The social security number you have is an identification number that aids the government by providing social security benefits to the citizens of its country. Criminals can make use of social security numbers to gain access to important information and private financial records. If your financial data is obtained, criminals can be able to steal your information and harm your reputation.
To avoid this risk or at least lessen the risk avoid moving around using your social security number card. Do your best to keep the numbers in mind if you are able. If websites or anyone requires you to disclose or reveal the social security numbers of your children, attempt to figure out the reason they need these details. Don’t be impulsive to disclose the information.
Also read: 8 Risks of Giving Out Your Cell Phone Number To Strangers
2. Pay attention to your mail
A lot of people aren’t paying at their mailboxes, which isn’t a wise act to make. Most people are unaware of the amount of personal information that fraudsters are able to obtain from their mail especially if it’s not secure. An unfortunate snooping of your personal information could be used to steal your identity and damage your reputation. It is possible to think about applying for a US post office if think that your current provider of mail isn’t safe. A US mail service is highly secure since it allows you to secure and lock your mailbox. You can also choose to receive an alert delivery, which alerts you to any new mail coming in and allows you to monitor the mail.
3. Limit the information that you provide
Due to the rise in social media platforms, it’s become more difficult to limit or limit the amount of information we can share. We have a tendency to display to our loved ones our lifestyles and achievements, however, there are hackers and criminals online watching your personal information and the events around you.
They are able to obtain all the details they require regarding you from your social media accounts to take your identity. A few of these criminals and hackers take your profile or identity and use the details to contact your social media contacts and followers to get them to pay. Be cautious about the type of information you provide particularly on social media.
4. Close an unused credit and debit card
Credit card information theft is so common in recent times that the majority of individuals are targeted or scammed by criminals who frequently get access to their credit card details. Keeping a daily eye on your transactions or credit card details can help you avoid this scourge. Shut down your debit or credit card account if it isn’t likely to use it for some time. This method helps ensure that you are safe from unauthorized access to your financial information.
5. The Shredder was created for a purpose
There are instances that we require physical copies of certain documents, such as statements of financials, transactional reports, credit card documentation, and a host of others but when they are no longer useful or obsolete we throw them away with careless abandonment in our garbage bins. Naturally, the final destination for these papers is the trash truck, or dump. Criminals are always on the lookout for these sites of refuse because they are aware that they could easily gain access to confidential information on these sites. That’s why you require shredders that can destroy your old papers and documents in a secure manner. If your documents are shredded by criminals, they won’t be able to connect your documents.
6. Monitor your financial statements
Another way to avoid or detect identity theft in the early stages is to check your credit card or financial statement carefully. You’ll be able to detect fraudulent charges quickly. Criminals can charge your credit accounts or credit cards with tiny amounts that aren’t visible to your attention. They may use this to slowly drain your account or engage in other illegal actions that could make you a target for criminals. If you spot something unusual it is your responsibility to notify your account manager and they will then begin an investigation to uncover these illegal actions.
Also read: 10 Best Password Manager Apps Uses in 2023
7. Secure your devices with strong passwords
At the beginning of this article, the advancement of technology makes it much easier to control our lives. Many of our devices and smartphones have a lot of sensitive personal and financial information. They are therefore an easy target for criminals and hackers.
If you have sensitive personal data on your mobile and electronic devices, you’ll have to secure your devices using secure passwords made up of alphanumeric letters. Passwords made of only numeric or alpha characters can be easily stolen. This is why you should use an array of both kinds of characters to protect your device effectively. This will minimize your vulnerability to fraudsters and hackers.
Identity theft is a threat that will not go away in the long run as we advance in the realm of science and technology. It is your responsibility to protect your identity as nobody can defend your identity better than you. Many have suffered huge losses because of identity theft. Many have had their reputation destroyed due to someone stealing their identity and later using it to scam innocent people.
Although you might not be able to protect your identity all the time you can take a number of measures to make it impossible for anyone to take your identity. This small security measure you set up could be the saving grace in the event that hackers try to take your identity.