Identity theft is a serious crime that involves someone stealing another’s personal information to impersonate them mainly for financial gain. The results are usually devastating to the victim and can include loss of life savings or being charged with crimes you never committed.
Most people are aware of the crime, but not many take any measures to minimize the risk leaving themselves vulnerable to scammers.
Even if you are extra cautious with handling your personal information, you’re still susceptible to identity theft.
The good news is that there are several measures you can take to reduce the risk of identity theft.
Below are some of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of identity theft.
Using Tools and Software Services
Considering the consequence of your identity being stolen, ensuring its protection should be a top priority.
Technology has made the development of tools and software that effectively help you safeguard your identity and finances possible.
Identity Guard is one excellent example of identity theft protection tools tailor-made to protect you and your family from phishing scammers by delivering warnings of possible scam attacks.
This software solution works by ensuring all your credit card transactions are tokenized and encrypted, making them safer.
Safeguard Your Social Security Number
Guarding your social security number is imperative as it is the master key to your personal information.
If it gets into the wrong hands, your social security number can wreak havoc on your life and credit.
Whenever your social security number is asked of you, ensure that you get complete information on why it is required and how it will be protected.
It would be best to avoid carrying your social security card in your wallet and always ensure that you shred every paperwork containing the number.
Freeze Your Credit
If you are concerned about having your identity stolen, freezing your credit is one way of ensuring your money is safe by preventing new accounts from being created in your name.
You can temporarily lift it when you need to apply for new credit, which is a small hustle compared to losing all your money. Freezing and unfreezing your credit is free and does not affect your credit score.
Update Your Passwords
The first line of defense from phishing scammers is your passwords. Choosing a weak password can leave you vulnerable to scammers.
Ensure that you have complex passwords that are a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
It is also not advisable to use one password for all your accounts because a single breach in your password could mean that all your accounts are vulnerable.
Beef Up Your Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity goes beyond putting up firewalls and antivirus software.
Another way of keeping hackers at bay on the web is avoiding using public Wi-Fi when handling sensitive matters involving personal information.
Additionally, using an HTTPS extension on your browser can help in ensuring that your connection is encrypted.
Updating your security settings on your social media handles is also critical.
Besides updating the security settings, it is essential to limit the amount of personal information you share online and be careful about who you share it with.
The best practice is not to share sensitive personal information at all on social media.
The ideas highlighted in this post come with minimal or no cost and effectively keep your identity and credit safe.
Do not wait until you fall victim to identity theft criminals to take action.
By implementing the ideas mentioned above, you can significantly reduce the chances of your identity being stolen while also minimizing its effect if it is stolen.