As a human being today, it’s critical to be aware of the possibility of identity theft on and off the internet. From nabbing your social security number to stealing your address, plenty of people and companies would love nothing more than to access your information. Thus, it’s vital to know how to defend yourself.
There are ten ways you can protect yourself from identity theft:
● Utilize a Credit Card (NOT a Debit Card) Online
● Grab Your Mail Right Away
● Knows Signs of Phishing
● Get a VPN
● Try a Digital Wallet
● Defend Your Social Security Number
● Avoid Sharing Critical Information Over the Internet
● Activate Alerts
● Use Different and Strong Passwords
● Shred Critical Documents
If you’re interested in learning more about defending yourself from identity theft, you’re in the right place. The more you know about various defense measures against identity theft, the safer you will remain. Read on to learn more about ten effective tactics to keep you and your information safe.
If you use a card to make a purchase online, you should always try to use a credit card instead of a debit card. These cards offer more fraud protection because they aren’t linked directly to your bank account and critical information.
If someone steals your credit card or accesses other information, your credit card company will typically let you know something suspicious is happening. Since the money hasn’t left your account yet, most credit card groups will work with you to ensure everything is resolved.
Even better, use cryptocurrency wherever possible. Learn more about how cryptocurrency can protect your identity in our article How to Upgrade Your Online Security.
Mailboxes are a prime location for thieves to steal money. They will walk to your mailbox and snag critical information before you check it for the day.
There are a few prevention methods here. You can hold your mail while you’re out of town, send mail to a secure mailbox, or grab it as soon as it's dropped off. You might also consider using Informed Delivery through USPS to reveal when a package is at your home.
More often than ever, scammers will use phishing and spoofing techniques to grab your information. Tactics include fraud calls, fake links in emails, and more.
Ensure you’re careful if you receive a phone call from an individual who claims they are from the government or a company. Never provide personal information on the phone and be especially cautious about clicking links in an email if you aren’t expecting anything. Look at the sender, too.
Related: How to Upgrade Your Online Security
A VPN is a service that obscures your internet data and protects your privacy online. With this Virtual Private Network, scammers and companies attempting to look at your information or search history will only see a jumbled message in their attempt.
With a VPN, you can use the public internet with confidence. It’s a worthy investment, especially if you work from home and are constantly at risk.
Related: What is a VPN?
If you are paying in a store or purchasing something online, consider using a digital wallet. Here, you will have digital versions of your cards, so you don’t have to carry them with you and put them at risk.
Typically, a store will let you know if their checkouts are compatible with digital options. Using a digital card reduces germ exposure and is encrypted.
Always prioritize the defense of your social security number. It’s the core of your data, so if someone gains access to it, you’ll experience an invasion of privacy.
If you are asked for your social security number, ask why they need it and ensure you’re confident before handing it out. Also, remove any documents with your number written out as soon as you’re sure you don’t need them anymore.
If you can, do not share crucial information over the internet. When you do, try to use an app, and ensure you’re on a personal network with a VPN.
When possible, share your information in person and with a secured party. You never know who’s looking in on your internet dealings.
If you use apps for your credit card or bank, it’s a good idea to activate alerts. The app will then be able to let you know if something suspicious is happening or if there is any dangerous activity occurring on your account.
Also, alerts help you act sooner rather than later. If you are immediately able to see a scammer using your account, you’re more likely to recover your information than if you don’t have any alerts enabled.
Always use different passwords for your account. If you only have one password for every account, you are far more vulnerable. If a hacker gains the information, they have access to every single account.
Ensure the passwords are strong. Use numbers, and capital letters, and make them more than six characters long to lower the chance of someone guessing them or accessing using a software.
When you receive documents with valuable information, shred them as soon as possible. Get rid of your details and ensure no one can piece them together before throwing them away.
If you toss your documents without shredding them, there is a chance someone will recover your papers and steal the information. Don’t take that risk.
There are a million ways for outsiders to gather your information and steal your identity. Luckily, there are also plenty of ways to put up barriers. Whether you use a digital wallet, shred critical documents, or take on a variety of protections, there are ways to remain secure.
We hope this information was valuable! The better you can defend your personal information, the easier it will be to navigate your life confidently.
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