Identify theft has become a major problem for consumers, with a new identity theft victim every two seconds.
In 2019 alone, about 14 million people were victims of identity theft, which is one in every 15 people. These are staggering statistics, and it’s even worse how creative hackers have gotten when it comes to using that information.
Hackers can use your personal information to open credit cards and take out loans. They can intercept your tax refund, open utility accounts, and much more. For these reasons, it’s important that you seek the best identity theft protection tips.
So, what are the best ways to stop identity theft? Let’s look at some of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.
Protect Your Devices With Strong Passwords
Would you believe over 52% of consumers don’t use passwords to protect their mobile devices?
If you are a part of this group and don’t have passwords on your smartphone or tablet, then you stand a chance of experiencing identity theft. If your device is stolen, your email, financial records, and sensitive information will be easily accessible.
One of the best identity theft protection tips involves setting strong passwords on all your devices. Now, a lot of people overlook passwords because they tend to forget them and go through the trouble of restoring new ones. If this is your worry, consider using a password manager for your electronic devices and financial accounts.
With a password manager, you’ll avoid using the same password for all your devices, which would be a significant security risk. You see if a hacker was to figure out that one single password, they would gain access to all your information. Mix up your passwords and make them unique for every device and account, then avoid using obvious things like your birthday.
Never Give Out Personal Information on the Phone
Sometimes fraudsters pause as credit card or bank employees over the phone to fish for information. The truth is, no legitimate organization will ask for your personal information over the phone. If you do suspect that the call may be potentially legitimate, ask for the caller’s credentials.
If they agree to tell you, hang up the phone, then contact the organization using the customer care number. You can also use the number listed financial institution statement. This way, you find out whether they actually did call and confirm that you’re not giving away your information to the wrong person.
Be On the Lookout for Phishing Attempts
According to research, about 36% of security breaches involve phishing. Social generic attacks such as phishing are some of the most prevalent and dangerous types of cybercrime. To prevent identity theft, it’s absolutely critical for you to avoid clicking suspicious-looking links.
Cybercriminals utilize phishing by using seemingly legitimate websites and emails. You may think you’ve gotten an email from your credit card company, mortgage lender, or bank. These emails will trick you into entering your private data and account information.
Even worse, clicking on these links may install harmful malware on your desktop or device. Once the malware is installed, the hacker will get access to all the personal information on your device.
Hence, it’s important that you avoid clicking on any suspicious links. Also, avoid giving out personal information unless you’re absolutely sure who you’re dealing with.
Check Your Credit Card Reports Regularly
Your credit card report shows the activities on your financial accounts, including the last reported balances.
One of the best ways to find out whether you have suffered identity theft is by spotting discrepancies on your report. To avoid noticing when it’s too late, make it a habit to check your credit reports regularly so you can spot anything suspicious early on.
On your credit report, you’ll be able to notice unfamiliar accounts, purchases you never made, and loans you never took. This will allow you to take the appropriate action and stop the situation before it gets out of hand.
Now, if you do find out that you’re an identity theft victim, you need to contact professionals, such as financialjusticenow.
Protect Personal Documents
One of the best ways to avoid identity theft is by protecting your personal documents. They present a security risk because they may include information that would be useful to cybercriminals.
Whether it’s your Social Security number or your bank account information. A cybercriminal will find ways to use that information to their advantage.
To prevent identity theft, avoid leaving your mail in the mailbox as they have become frequent targets for identity theft. If you plan to go out of town, ask someone you trust to pick up your mail or request mail-holding in the meantime. You can also go a step further and limit the sensitive information you get in the mail by signing up for electronic statements.
It’s also possible for identity thieves to go through your trash for information. For this reason, destroy or shred any physical records and statements that may include personal or financial data.
Moreover, it’s vital that you avoid leaving your credit card, ATM, and retail receipts haphazardly. It’s possible for identity thieves to use the information on your receipts to piece together enough data for identity theft. Take the receipts home with you and shred them before throwing them away.
Do What You Can to Limit Exposure
The best identity theft protection advice you can get is to do whatever possible to limit exposure. Your social security number card is especially very sensitive. It would be a cybercriminals’ gateway to more financial information.
Avoid carrying it on your person as much as possible unless it’s absolutely important. Additionally, limit the number of credit cards you take with you in your wallet. This way, you’ll limit the impact if your wallet is stolen.
The Best Identity Theft Protection: What You Must Do to Protect yourself
If you’re worried about falling victim to identity theft, these are some of the best identity theft protection tips you can utilize. Go through them and make sure that you implement them in your everyday life.
Identity theft can disrupt or ruin your life, so it’s crucial that you do everything possible to protect yourself. Use this identity theft protection advice to your advantage. For more informative articles, please check out our blog today!