Research findings reveal that despite industry efforts to prevent it, identity theft hits a new victim every two seconds. What is even worse is that one in every five victims of identity theft has experienced it more than once.
The end result is emotional distress, which may be harder to quantify than the financial losses you may incur. In this article, we will explore simple ways you can explore to reduce the risk of identity theft. Let’s dig in:
1. Use strong passwords
Passwords are usually your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your information. If your password is not strong enough, your information is not secure enough.
Unfortunately, most people use weak passwords for their credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Avoid using short and easy passwords. Also, avoid using easily available information such as your birth date, phone number, or social security number.
To protect your information, you need a strong password that is not easy to guess. This could mean making your password long, and mixing letters, numbers, and symbols.
If you have multiple accounts, ensure that all accounts have unique passwords. Using one password for all your accounts is a disaster waiting to happen.
2. Avoid opening suspicious emails
Not every email that lands in your inbox is legit. Some are bogus emails meant to steal your information without you even knowing. These emails usually come with suspicious links or attachments embedded with malware that can easily harvest your private information once you click.
Also, be wary of promotional offers. Fraudsters may use such phony offers to lure you into giving them your personal information. Never share sensitive information through email, phone, or over the internet, unless you’ve initiated the contact or are very sure you know the person or entity you’re dealing with.
3. Install security software
Hackers will utilize any vulnerability on your system or device to get your information. Without any security software to help you out, you might easily lose your information within minutes, or even seconds.
With an antivirus program, you can easily protect your information. The program will scan all files to ensure they are safe before you download. If the program detects any problem with a file, it will quarantine or delete the downloaded file before it enters your device.
Furthermore, antivirus programs can detect risky websites, blocking your computer from accepting any data from the website.
4. Monitor your accounts
You can easily tell when something is wrong with your financial status by constantly monitoring your accounts, credit card, or loan.
Monitoring your accounts every once in a while helps you ensure that everything is as you left it. It also helps you notice any unauthorized charges early, so you can quickly seek the required assistance.
Many online identity theft victims have a hard time solving their situation because they notice the problem too late.
5. Limit what is in your wallet or purse
Your wallet should always have the things you need to get you through the day. These might be things like your driver’s license, some cash, and a few credit cards.
What it should rarely have is your Social security card or PIN. Such information in the wrong hands, especially when your wallet or purse gets stolen, can be detrimental.
By carrying around a few things, you minimize the amount of information that can be exposed in case your wallet or purse gets stolen or is lost.
While it may not be possible to prevent identity theft entirely, you can significantly reduce your risk by following the above tips.
Over to you! Which other ways do you use to protect yourself from identity theft? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.