Identity Theft Prevention
When you’re an honest person, it can be hard to understand the mind of a thief. Thieves get a thrill out of committing wrongful acts. But, what does a thief really gain by stealing? The risk of getting caught and going to prison? That kind of life is not for me. I think I’ll stick to working hard to earn the things I need.
What’s one of the worst things a thief could steal from you? Possibly, your identity. The information that verifies who you are.
How does identity theft affect victims? When a thief steals someone’s identity, their personal information is at risk of being exposed on the dark web from anywhere in the world. Victims are immediately susceptible to financial loss, harm to their credit score, even penalties from the IRS if the information is used for tax purposes. Not only can identity theft affect your finances, but also your wellbeing in general. Identity theft can cause major distress and can take up much of your time to resolve the issue.
Take steps to protect yourself from financial loss as a result of identity theft.
- Order your free annual credit report from all three major credit bureaus and review your reports closely for unauthorized activity. Being aware of your credit report helps you keep track of any criminal activity.
- Never share personal information unless you are fully aware of whom you are speaking to. If an unknown number calls you asking for information, do not give out personal information over the phone. Beware of scams.
- Create a different, complex password for each account. For maximum security, use 15+ characters, including symbols, numbers, capital, and lowercase letters.
- Make sure your privacy settings are updated when using public WiFi, or avoid altogether if possible.
- Watch out for potential phishing scams which are intended to download malware onto your device.
- Carefully check over your bank statements and compare with receipts to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.
- Shred documents and old credit cards that contain personal information which could be acquired by dumpster divers.
- Do not carry important documents containing your personal information in your purse or wallet. Instead, keep these documents secure in a lockbox.
- Collect your mail everyday to prevent theft.
- Do not shop online with unreliable websites. Use only secure checkouts to ensure your financial information is safe. Look for the a lock sign beside the https: part of your website which indicates security.
- Report any lost or stolen items immediately.
- Use a secure password lock on your phone and computer.
Identity theft can be a terrifying violation of privacy. Protect yourself by taking the necessary precautions for prevention.