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Technology has made life easy for everyone, thanks to breakthroughs and innovations witnessed in the industry in recent times. Despite the amazing benefits technology affords everyone, unscrupulous individuals like hackers, scammers, and phishers have found a variety of ways to use technology in ripping unsuspecting individuals off their hard-earned monies. Identity theft has become a serious issue especially if you are very active on the web or you carry lots of financial transactions online.
These days lots of websites compel you to divulge your financial details in a bid to make your financial transactions or payments processes hassle-free and seamless. But then, you could pass off your financial details unknowingly to a fake or malicious site. This can spell doom for your finances and mental health in general.
Apart from you losing your valuable funds due to a breach of your privacy data, your identity can get stolen and then used to perpetrate crimes which can get you into trouble with the law as well as ruin your reputation. Despite all the threats that abound online, that doesn’t mean you should avoid using the internet in other to reduce your exposure to risk and identity theft. Nevertheless, there are measures that you can put in place to prevent or mitigate the chances of your identity being stolen.
Your social security number is your identification number that assists the government in providing social security services to its citizens. A criminal can use your social security number to access vital information and confidential financial records. Once your financial information is accessed, these criminals will steal from you as well as ruin your reputation.
To prevent this problem, or at least reduce your exposure to this risk, do not move around with your social security number card. Try as much as possible to memorize the numbers if you can. And if anyone or websites ask you to reveal or divulge your social security number, try to know the reason why they need such information. Do not be quick to reveal this information.
2. Pay attention to your mail
Many people don’t pay attention to their mailboxes which is a reckless thing to do. Many people don’t realize how much personal information fraudsters can get from their mail, especially when it’s not secured. One unfortunate intercept of your identification details can be used to steal and ruin your reputation. You may need to consider using the US postal service if you feel your current mail service provider isn’t secure. The US postal service mailbox is very secure as it allows you to lock and secure your mailbox. You can opt for informed delivery which helps to alert you of incoming mail and then allow you to keep tabs on them.
3. Try to restrict the amount of information you divulge
With the advent of social media, it has become increasingly difficult for us to limit or restrict the amount of information we share. We often feel the urge to show off to our friends our lifestyles and achievement, but then, there are criminals and hackers lurking around the web keeping tabs on your information and the happenings around you.
They can get as much information as they want about you from your social media profiles to steal your identity. Some of these hackers and fraudulent individuals steal your identity or profile and then use your information to approach your social media friends and followers to extort them. Be careful about the kind of information you share, especially on social media.
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4. Suspend your credit and debit card if you aren’t using it
Credit card information theft has become so rampant these days that most people get hacked or ripped off by criminals who often gain access to their credit card information. Keeping daily tabs on your financial transaction or credit card information can help to mitigate this ugly trend. Suspend your credit or debit card account if you aren’t going to be using it for a while. This strategy helps to protect against unauthorized use of your financial details.
5. The Shredder was created for a purpose
There are times when we request physical copies of documents such as financial statements, transactional statements, credit card documents, and many more, and then when they become less useful or irrelevant, we dispose of them carelessly in our trash cans. Of course, the ultimate destination of these expired documents is the garbage truck or refuse dump. Criminals are on the prowl at these refuse sites because they know they can easily gain access to sensitive information at these sites. That’s why you need a shredder to destroy your old paperwork and documents securely. With your old documents shredded, criminals can’t piece your documents together.
6. Monitor your financial statements
Another way you can prevent or catch identity theft early is to monitor your financial or credit card statement vigorously. You will be able to spot unauthorized charges easily. Criminals sometimes charge your cards or accounts with little amounts that can escape your notice. They could use it to slowly empty your account or carry out other illegal activities that can get you into trouble. Once you notice anything strange, you are expected to report it to your account officer, who would then commence an investigation that will help to unravel these unauthorized activities.
7. Secure your devices with strong passwords
As we said in the opening paragraph of this article, technology has made it easy for us to manage our daily lives. Most of our mobile devices and gadgets contain lots of sensitive financial and personal information. That’s why they become easy targets for hackers and other criminals.
If you store very sensitive, personal information on your gadgets and mobile devices, then you’ll need to secure your gadgets with strong passwords that consist of alphanumeric characters. Passwords with only alpha or numeric characters can easily get hacked. That’s why you need a combination of both types of characters to secure your devices effectively. This security measure will help you reduce your risk of exposure to hackers and fraudsters.
Identity theft is a menace that has come to stay as long as we continue to make giant strides in the field of science and technology. The onus is on you to secure your identity because no one can protect you better than yourself. A lot of individuals have lost considerable fortunes due to identity theft. Some have had their reputation ruined because someone stole their identity and then used it to defraud unsuspecting individuals.
While you may not be able to secure your identity 100 percent of the time, you can take considerable steps to make it difficult for any unscrupulous person to steal your identity. That insignificant security measure you put in place could be your saving grace when hackers attempt to steal your identity.
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