Identity Thief – ways to safe guard your credit and private information
Identity theft happens when someone obtains sensitive personal information, such as credit card data or personal identification number to commit fraud or other crimes. With so many services and product moving online, you may not remember every store you’ve shopped at or the websites you’ve signed up in, but thieves and hackers can strike anywhere and at any time.
While no measures can guarantee protection against identity theft, there are ways you can take to safeguard your information and have a strong line of defense. Here are some tips stated by experts to prevent identity theft:
Keep track of your paper trail
If you prefer checking your ATM, credit card or gas station receipts on paper, then make sure you destroy it after you’re done the checking. Shred credit cards statements, salary information or documents that contain private financial information often.
Safeguard your Social Security number
Avoid carrying your social security card with your all the time, keep it in a secure place. This is very secure information that identity thieves target first as it will give them access to your credit report and bank accounts.
Watch your mail
Stolen mail is one of the easiest paths to a steal an identity. Use a locked mailbox or ask a trusted source to fetch your mail held if you’re out of town. USPS also has an informed delivery service which can give you a preview of your mail so you can tell if anything is missing.
Track your bank and credit card statements
Check your account statements periodically to check if all purchases and credits are valid. If you recognize irregularities in purchases that you didn’t make, contact your bank and cancel your cards immediately. Also make sure you recognize the merchants, locations, and purchases listed.
Be cautious when asked for personal information
Even if you’ve signed up for phone banking, ensure that you read through your bank’s verification procedure and do not divulge any unnecessary information. If salespeople or sign up sheets require information such as Social Security, driver’s license number, or any personal identification, only reveal it if it is absolutely necessary.
Lock down your hardware
Since we use devices so often throughout the day, set up password protection for your phone, laptop, tablet, and other devices, Even if you trust the people at home or at work, there are threats of break-ins putting your data at risk. Downloading anti-malware apps and software is also good-to-have as they can prevent criminals from stealing your data.
Social Media Safeguards
Secure your social media profiles (Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Apple ID, Microsoft, Twitter) with two-factor authentication. That means that whenever you log in, you’ll need a code that the site sends to your mobile phone along with your password to enter. Although it may seem time-consuming, it is better to be safe than sorry.
While social media is a great tool to share things about your life, the more you share, the easier it will be for someone to get their hands on your information. Keep your social media profile as barren as possible and try not to divulge your birth date, email address, and phone number.