Technology has blessed us all with several factors and the evolution is clearly evident. Mainly every component of our daily routines involves some sort of technology, to say the very least. However, we can’t ignore the downside of this modern era, which tends to defy the privacy factor in our lives. With personal information being hacked and data being breached, it is extremely crucial and necessary to protect your confidential and private information. Breaching of such data is also referred to as identity theft.
Identity theft is a crime that involves an individual losing their data, including loss of usernames, passwords, financial information, Health IDs, which is then used to commit fraudulent crimes.
Identity thieves can open accounts in your name or even file false tax reports. While it may be important to protect yourself from all this unnecessary drama, safeguarding yourself from such a vulnerable situation could be pretty intense and difficult than anticipated.
It may prove to bring about the slightest bit of inconvenience for some, but could seriously affect those struggling to maintain their reputation. Not only is retrieving the lost data back expensive but it also lowers the chance of you receiving a loan due to damaged credit scores. You may use instantly verification platforms like datazoo.com to keep you safe from such untoward circumstances. You may even possibly end up going behind the bars for legal charges against crimes committed by somebody else using your stolen ID.
This article will cover the five basic ways you can prevent yourself from being a victim of identity theft.
Protect Your Gadgets
Hackers will look for the slightest bit of room for errors, so make sure your computers, tablets and mobile devices are protected with strong, updated software. In case your gadgets are already infested with malicious software, you might as well just end up losing more than you would have ever expected. Always have operating systems installed beforehand. Also, be extremely vigilant of allowing your device to connect to somebody else’s, so turn off Bluetooth when not in use. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi as you are at a greater risk of exposing yourself to newer threats for your system. Know that it makes it extremely easy for a hacker to steal your information while your server operates to such internet connections.
Use Strong Passwords
Do you get annoyed when you try creating an account and just fail to sometimes be eligible enough to meet all the requirements for a ‘strong password?’ Though it may be irksome, it’s actually for your own good and safety. Using the same password for every account and medium you log on to is just a way of dishing your information to the hacker yourself. In the unfortunate event of a thief finding out about your passcode, your financial information could easily be breached and taken advantage of. Be sure to use different passwords for every account and follow the common guidelines that include several upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Change passwords regularly. Also, make use of the two-factor authentication and an authenticator app rather than texts to your phone to safely handle your delicate financial information.
Beware of Phishing and Telephone Scams
Phishing scams could be quite difficult to dodge. It is a technique used by most scammers through emails or chat services. The thief pretends to represent a specific company and asks you for your credentials and wants you to respond with some information or even click on a link. No matter how convincing the thief might appear to be with attractive links or them showcasing a sweepstakes giveaway. Do not fall for it no matter how genuine it might seem. Always know at the back of your head that responsible organizations would not approach potential customers in such an unprofessional manner.
Similarly, look out for telephonic scams. You might receive calls from people who claim to be representing certain organizations or companies and they may sweet-talk you into asking for your bank account details or your credit card number. Though it may be easier for you to distinguish between trained professionals and actual organizations, this is still a widely practiced method by thieves. Don’t fall prey to their trap!
Dispose of Data Properly
Getting rid of confidential data must be dealt with more caution than you would expect to reduce the risk of a security breach. Remove all contents from reused storage devices in an irretrievable manner as it will ensure your data won’t be exploited. Hire an IT professional to completely erase or reformat your hard drives as self-deleting data could be easily recovered with freely-available tools.
Don’t forget the hardcopies! Be sure to use a paper shredder or consider investing in one if you don’t have one on hand already. Credit cards, old confidential documents, bank statements, and receipts must be disposed of properly. So the next time a thief possibly goes through your trashcan they find no traces of anything that could lead to identity theft.
Be Careful with What You Share Online
Beware of giving away too much information on your social media. Though you may be tempted to share your birth date, pet’s name, or number over your accounts. It’s important to stay vigilant with hackers that are constantly on the loose and are fishing for the slightest bit of information that they could find. Such unimportant information could potentially be the answers to the security question they’re trying to unlock. For all social media accounts, be it, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, ensure you have set up strong passwords and your connections and settings are limited to people you only know. This will prevent giving out any kind of personal data that may seem irrelevant to you but could be useful for thieves and could cause more damage than you would anticipate.
The Final Word
The possibilities for scams out there are endless. Certain precautions must always be taken to ensure your data does not fall into the wrong hands. Identity theft is a pretty common crime in the United States as nearly 3 million fraud cases had been reported to the FTC in 2018, out of which 14.85% accounted for identity theft, making it the third most common type of fraud.