Have you known a person whose identity was stolen? Its pathetic not harm you no lesser than a serious disease. These article contains 51 tips and suggestions which may help you protect your identity from being stolen. So far I have been able to successfully deny all scams and attempt to take over my identity. There was an attempt to take over this site as well. But, the precautions and the home work saved me each time.
The techniques and tips are what I learned over the years. This is just a compilation of things that have been discussed in other parts in the web. This article is in continuation of our earlier article Tips to Avoid Internet Fraud and Scams.
How much data does someone needs to know to fully impersonate you? An individual may be able to gain full access to your bank accounts or even establish new credit or loans under your name. Few basic information they’ll need to know, name, address, date of birth and social security number. Only one or two is not enough but, knowing all these is dangerous.
Here are 51 tips to prevent identity theft
- Information can be easily found. When shopping online, stick to reliable providers and certified online stores.
- Look onto network security information. Read terms of services and policies thoroughly.
- Download anti spyware software and reduce vulnerabilities or hacking activities.
- Data can be easily pulled from a trash can. Make sure you break your papers into pieces. If possible buy a shredder. You can also make use of your work shredder, if needed.
- Try not to write down your account and/or card number on a piece of paper. Do not write these information in computer files
- Use your card at reputable restaurants. While there are securing customer laws to keep up with data privacy, threats are still around.
- You need to monitor and protect your credit and your information. Don’t trust random individuals who claim to be experts.
- Beware of the so-called shoulder-surfers.
- Whenever you enter your credit card number or your PIN number at a phone booth, remember to look around.
- When placing your card in an ATM or anywhere else, be cautious. Somebody may be looking to take note of your keys.
- Sign up for Photo ID verification. Instead of singing the back of your card, you can always opt for Photo ID.
- Make sure you implement preventive measures to feel at ease.
- As you may know, store clerks do not even look at credit cards signatures. Plus, many purchases don’t even require a signature.
- Ask for added security and shop with ease.
- Consider “dumpster-diving”, this is also known as trash-picking. This will prevent thieves from acquiring information.
- Get rid of old ATM receipts, junk mail, mortgages papers, medical statements. Purchase a quality shredder.
- Try to destroy digital data. Whenever you trade, sell or dispose of a hard drive, an electronic system, etc. you should take additional steps to eliminate your information. Believe it or not, anyone with some tech skills can easily get those files back or recover your data. For this, you can use ShredXP or any other software to ensure complete elimination. Read more on how to dispose off old computer.
- Buy special shredders to get rid of CD / DVD media. You can also physically destroy them.
- Avoid theft by placing your items on a safe bag while travelling.
- Try to avoid wearing flashy garments, since this tends to attract burglars. Note that a stolen wallet can bring plenty of issues.
- Avoid email scams and don’t open mails from unrecognized senders. Be careful before opening mails from SPAM folder.
- Hire the best wireless provider and protect your computer thoroughly.
- Note that wireless networks require an additional protection.Don’t hop on to any available unsecured wireless network.
- Whenever you create an account, remember to create strong passwords.
- Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.
- Update your passwords frequently. We often forget this but, this is must-do.
- Make sure you avoid common words or easy to guess phrases. Refrain from using your date of birth, parents name, etc.
- Be cautious of what you actually share. Social networks are kind of tricky. Thieves
- When using Twitter, try to avoid interacting with many strangers on a personal level.
- A significant amount of data is being exchanged online. This can be easily used by thieves. Try to keep it simple.
- Do not post personal data, like your phone numbers, address, birth place, etc. on social media sites. Even if you do make sure they are only visible to your closest friends. I would suggest not to publish this data altogether.
- Keep financial documents completely secure, both the hard copies and soft copies. If you have a bank safe deposit box, place the documents like passports, visa papers in the box.
- Do not store financial data on your pc or laptop.
- Keep your sensitive personal files secure, encrypted and password protected.
- Try to keep hard copies and make sure you store them in a safe place.
- Do not carry your social security card everywhere you go. Again, bank safe deposit box is the safest place for this piece of paper.
- Make sure you look after your mobile device and there should be password protection to unlock the screen.
- Smartphones apps are grandiose, but you cannot play with your safety.Download online apps from secure places.
- When buying clothes online, choose reputable online companies and beware about what data you share.
- When gambling online, look onto casinos certifications. I avoid online gaming and casinos altogether.
- Secure your smartphone with a strong password. Opt for your mobile device auto-lock feature.
- Check your credit report and scores periodically.
- Remember you can get a free credit report every year. You will find compiled personal data from: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This is great to avoid errors.
- Be ready to setup a fraud alerts. If it doesn’t cost you extra bucks, you may enroll in fraud alert service from your bank/card issuers.
- Become familiar with credit bureaus, you can stop identify theft right away. Your files and information will be freeze immediately.
- Avoid falling for phishing scams like email frauds. No matter how lucky you are, you can’t win millions of dollars based on your internet presence solely. So ignore those winning notification.
- Do not share personal information with friends and acquaintances. Try not to give out full social security number, only ast 4 of your number is sufficient for non financial purposes.
- Do not click any unknown source. Note that the IRS never request personal data via unknown and unsolicited emails.
- Do not forward or open emails that claim to be from a governmental organization.
- Remember that trustworthy companies never ask individuals to send sensitive information randomly.
- When it comes to online banking, there is always a secure firewall involved.
All in all, if you think your identity has been stolen, you must put a hold on your credit accounts. Make sure you change your passwords and proceed by filing a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). While you may not always get your lost money back, you will be assisted properly to be safeguard against fraudulent activities.
I found a scary compilation of identity theft stories on the web. You may want to read some of those scary incidents. Be careful and try to follow the 51 steps I wrote above. Feel free to suggest other ways and tips here.