Have you ever experienced identity theft?
If so, you’re certainly not alone in having faced such a horrible experience. In 2018 alone, over 14 million consumers fell victim to identity fraud. While guaranteeing protecting isn’t entirely possible, there are steps that anyone can take to minimize their risk of identity theft.
If you’re wondering how to protect yourself from identity theft, you’re going to want to read this. We’re highlighting eight simple yet incredibly effective ways to protect yourself against falling victim to identity scammers.
Let’s get started!
1. Take Your Passwords Seriously
First and foremost, always treat your passwords very seriously.
Whenever you have to option to conceal information with a password, don’t bypass this opportunity. Anything and everything that contains personal information should be adequately protected by a unique password.
In creating a password, resist using the same password for each device or account. Instead, use a variety of passwords that contain upper case letters, numbers and symbols.
You can also create secret questions to populate your login on a routine basis. Even with a correct password initially entered, these questions must be answered correctly in order for your login to proceed.
2. Monitor Your Credit Report
You’re going to want to check your credit report routinely to ensure that everything is checking out.
While you want to avoid checking your credit too often, you can get away with monitoring it a few times a year. With this, you can read through your report to ensure that there’s no suspicious or incorrect activity going on.
3. Avoid Suspicious Websites
Short and sweet, always remember to use common sense when you’re browsing the world wide web.
If something looks too good to be true, it more than likely is. If a website looks suspicious, it’s best to avoid it at all costs. At the end of the day, it’s simply not worth the risk to engage with a website that appears unsafe or distrustful at all.
You’re also going to want to avoid clicking on any suspicious links. This is especially the case in any emails that you receive from a monetary institution such as banking or a debt collection agency. Remember, identity thieves know exactly how to mimic the appearance of legitimate websites.
If you receive an email from your bank asking for personal information, be sure to proceed with caution. In most cases, an institution such as a bank will not request this type of information online. In this event, be sure to call your bank and discuss this request with them to determine the legitimacy.
4. Don’t Give out Personal Information
In this day and age, we’re all incredibly familiar with scam calls. Be it on our mobile phone or even our home phone, scam calls have become one of the go-to methods for identity theft.
When your phone rings, always avoid giving out any of your personal information. This might include anything from your SIN number and banking details to your computer login and associated passwords.
Unfortunately, scammers are getting even more creative in appearing as a local institution. In fact, 9 out of 10 scam calls will showcase the same area code as yours. Some scammers will go even further and mimic the first six numbers of your phone number.
5. Invest in a Shredder
If you really want to take identity theft seriously, t’s time to invest in a shredder. This is especially the case for anyone that has various documents containing personal information.
Shredding is the best and most simple means of ensuring that your documents are properly discarded. When documents containing personal information are recycled, you run the risk of having these documents stolen and then used against you.
It’s safe to say this is a change that will make your life more positive and organized.
6. Protect Your SSN Number
Your SNN number is the gateway into all of the most personal aspects of your life.
Think about it, when you’re required to verify your identity, it’s your SNN number that always carries the most weight. When someone else is in possession of your SNN number, it’s easy to see how quickly a poor situation could unravel.
Be sure to have your SNN card protected at all times. With this, it’s best not to carry your SNN card in your wallet and to have it properly stored in a safe place.
7. Keep a Close Eye on Your Mail
Have you been noticing your mail disappearing?
The truth is, stolen mail is one of the most simple ways for scammers to get hold of your personal information. Once they have these documents, they can easily convince others that your identity is, in fact, theirs.
When you’re on vacation, have your neighbors collect your mail. You can also sign up for mailing notifications that alert you when certain documents have been delivered.
8. Password Protect Your Mobile Phone
Every single phone today should be protected by a password.
This is a simple and incredibly effective means of protecting yourself against having your phone stolen and the information utilized. This is especially the case in today’s day and age where our smartphones have the ability to process our banking, unlock our homes and access our email.
You’re also going to want to register a PIN number with your cell phone provider. In the event that your phone has been stolen, you can prove yourself as the original owner by sharing with your cell phone provider your PIN code.
How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
As online shopping becomes more popular and smartphones gain even greater abilities, the risk of exposing yourself to identity theft is heightened.
This is especially true since scammers are getting more and more creative in how to appeal to their victims. Nowadays, differentiating between a scammer and a legitimate institution has become incredibly challenging.
If you’re wondering how to protect yourself from identity theft, be sure to practice our tips above. While this can’t always guarantee protection, it will help to minimize your chances of falling victim to identity theft.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, be sure to check out even more of our articles on life and wellness!