Identity theft is basically when someone is using your personal information like name, phone number, address, birthday, social security number, insurance number and that kind of stuff to be able to open up new bank accounts or take your bank accounts.
It’s basically looking to commit some kind of fraud by pretending to be you.
Here are a few tips to help protect yourself.
These things are not full proof, nothing is 100 even the big companies like Bank of America or Home Depot, they’ve got a lot of records and data that’s been stolen over the years and there’s many more companies out there that basically have had data breaches.
Tip number one is don’t fall for phishing attempts.
Never give out your private information to anyone on the phone, email, social media especially if you did not initiate the contact.
Identity thieves might try to contact you pretending to be from your bank, credit card company or other institutions and try to trick you into giving them your personal information like login credentials or credit card numbers.
So if you don’t know what phishing is it’s basically where they’re trying to fish and extract data from you.
Tip number two is be careful when selling your devices.
This is another kind of thing that you want to be careful about because your devices carry a lot of stuff.
When disposing old computers, cell phones or other devices make sure you delete all that personal information.
Tip number three and that is never lose sight of your credit card.
Avoid credit card skimming by keeping an eye on your card at all times and if t possible pay with cash.
Now I will tell you that even in in my world where I’m aware of these things somebody stole my credit card.
Just last week somebody tried to go to a convenience store, my credit card company called me up, tried to make a 300 or so dollar purchase at a convenience store.
I would assume they’re buying lottery tickets because that’s typically how the scams happen; rather than taking a bunch of stuff from a convenience store, it’s just a lot easier to just buy a bunch of lottery tickets and then they try and scratch them off and collect the cash afterwards.
Anyways my point is that there are people out there that are trying to skim your credit card it’s basically trying to attempt to extract that data from that credit card.
Just be careful, be aware of these things, check your credit cards, monitor those things and if you can really be more specific on each credit card that you use like let’s say you got one for maybe like food and groceries and then another one for like gas and then another one for like online purchases that you only leave at home.
That’s kind of really isolates things quite a bit and makes it a lot better.
Tip number four and that is keep an eye on your credit report.
So do an in-depth review of your credit report at least once a year to check for suspicious activity.
If you do something and find something unusual just call your credit card company immediately.
You can also use some credit protection services which alert you to when there are changes in your credit report.
Tip number five and that is use strong passwords for your accounts.
Make sure all your passwords are complex and different.
Create different passwords for all your accounts and never create a password that contains information related to your identity like your birthday, address, last name etc..
Personally, I use a program called keepass; it allows you to store passwords and encrypt them and you can manage them.
However, it’s not universal across all devices.
Tip number six and that is enable the two-factor authentication.
It’s basically an extra layer of security where in order for you to log into your account there needs to be a secret code.
A lot of times they use cell phones but there’s also some cool widgets and devices like a passcode encryption card where it changes like every 30 seconds or so and that could also be something physical on you.
So anything that’s physical, something additional is just another layer of security.
Tip number seven is keep your devices secured.
So avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi network since they may not be able to secure your device’s password.
Protect at all times and install anti-virus software and your computer make sure it’s updated.
Tip number eight and that is destroy documents before disposing.
Dumpster diving is a way of stealing personal information that criminals still practice.
So if you’re planning to throw away like papers containing sensitive information like receipts, loans, credit card applications, bank statements and that kind of stuff make sure you shred them or me personally I like to burn them.
It’s not foolproof but if you just make it more difficult you’ll probably won’t be a victim because other people will be more of a victim than you are because you are less penetrable.