Identity theft is no joke. Every year, millions of people are scammed out of millions of dollars due to identity theft and fraud. There are, however, simple steps you can take to help protect yourself against the risk of identity theft. This article discusses the basics of how to keep your information and identity safe.
Be safe online
It is often when people are online that the opportunity for identity theft strikes. There are a few critical things to bear in mind when being active online.
Firstly, do not shop online or input any sensitive information using either a public computer or while you are connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi network (such as a free Wi-Fi network at airports, shopping malls or public places). Because these networks are unsecured, it means that the information that travels across them (including any sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers) are able to be accessed and stolen by criminals.
If you are out and about and need to use the internet, use your mobile data plan as much as possible. That is far more secure than using an open Wi-Fi hotspot.
Keep your devices up to date
Whether it is your computer, smartphone or tablet, make sure you keep your devices up to date with their necessary software updates. Many updates come with critical safety and security features which make it much more difficult for criminals to steal your sensitive information.
Store physical documents safely
Keep documents with sensitive information (such as your social security number, banking details and government documents) in a safe location at home, such as in a locked cabinet or safe. Don’t keep any sensitive information in your car, even if it is locked or has an alarm.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Scammers and fraudsters often succeed by catching unsuspecting victims off guard. Be vigilant and read through offers carefully. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t pick up phone calls from strange numbers or from overseas countries where you don’t have a link to. Delete suspicious emails immediately and do not open them.
With these steps, you can help keep yourself and your identity safe from threats both online and offline. Safety is the key and can save you from being a victim in the future.