Don’t Be A Statistic Of Identity Theft
The thought of someone gaining unauthorized access to your most sensitive information might send shivers down your spine, but identity theft is a very unfortunate reality. In 2015, 13.1 million U.S. residents lost an estimated $15 billion to identity theft, according to Javelin Strategy and Research’s 2016 Identity Fraud Study. Over the last decade, over $100 billion have been lost due to identity thieves.
Once your identity is stolen, it can be very difficult to recover from. Therefore, the best method to fight identity theft is to keep it from happening in the first place. These are some methods to help your identity from being stolen.
You might think that identity theft is done solely through sophisticated hacking and phishing programs, but it can be done by anyone you pass by on the street who knows how to snoop properly. For instance, if you are at an ATM, there might be people looking over your shoulder, attempting to find out what your PIN is. If you are in a situation where you are sharing sensitive information in public, be wary about those around you, as it could result in theft
Share Information With Discretion
Before you go and give your social security or credit card number over the phone, make sure that you trust who you are giving it to. For instance, if you receive a call from an unknown number claiming you have won a grand prize of some sorts and that you just need to give them your social security number, you absolutely should not comply. It is better to be safe than sorry in situations of possible id theft.
Keep Track of Your Financial Statements
Whether it’s a credit card bill, a summary of your recent bank transactions or anything else, you need to pay regular attention to these matters. If you are checking these on a daily basis, then you’ll be able to catch worrisome activity early and hopefully put a stop to any id theft.
Make Strong Passwords
You make yourself particularly vulnerable to attacks if your bank account and email passwords are not secured with a
password that would be difficult to decipher. Many websites have special rules to make your password more difficult to access, but you should make your password as hard to guess no matter what. Even slight modifications to an easy password, such as shifting a certain number of characters to the right or left, can make a big difference when it comes to security and preventing an id theft.
Shred Sensitive Materials
You shouldn’t underestimate identity thieves, nor should you overestimate them. They’ll do anything to access your information, including rooting through your garbage. If you have any documents containing information such as your social security number, you should run it through a shredder to prevent dumpster divers from getting their hands on it.
Only Carry Necessary Materials in Wallet
There are some things you should not carry in your wallet, even if they fit perfectly. One of these is your social security card. Theft of this can effectively mean theft of your whole livelihood. Keep this in a secure location at home. If you have multiple credit and debit cards, it is strongly advised that you only keep one of each in your wallet. If your wallet is stolen, multiple credit and debit cards mean there’s much more potential for a thief to wreak havoc on you.
We hope this advice helps to prevent any identity theft in the future. By paying attention to those around you and keeping sensitive information to yourself, you can help keep yourself secure.