Identity theft is a quickly growing problem, especially with how easily people provide personal details online. It’s essential to take this risk seriously – if someone manages to steal your identity successfully, they can wreak havoc on your life, in ways that include but are not limited to stealing money from your bank accounts and ruining your credit score. They may even affect your interpersonal relationships!
Luckily, if you’re concerned about identity theft, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself. Here are some tips for protecting your personal information from prospective scammers.
Contact an Identity Theft Protection Service
Identity theft protection services are precisely what they sound like – they work to reduce the risk of their clients falling victim to online fraud.
However, these services provide much more than just protection. These services also provide you with financial monitoring services, which track potential fraudulent activity across your financial accounts. If they identify fraud, they report the same immediately, reducing the harm done to your accounts.
Be Careful When Using Free Wi-Fi
When you use public networks, it’s essential to keep in mind that these networks are usually unsecured. This means that identity protection is not their forte. So, if you use these networks when making financial transactions, you’re at risk.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that financial transactions do not only mean using your bank’s website. Actions as simple as making an online purchase from websites like Amazon are also financial transactions, and it’s essential that you wait until you have access to a password-protected network before you go ahead and add your personal details on a website.
Have Identity Theft Insurance
Identity theft insurance is precisely what it sounds like – an insurance policy that covers the financial losses that you will suffer as a result of identity theft. What the policy covers depends on the individual policy, but most cover actions taken to restore your identity and the expenses that are part of trying to repair your credit. They usually include:
- Legal fees
- Lost wages
- Costs of childcare
- Costs of hiring credit monitoring services
- Notary fees and the cost of mailing documents
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that you should research potential identity theft policies thoroughly before choosing one for yourself. Compare each company’s coverages, policy limits and deductibles (if any), and so on. Additionally, make sure to check if the policy covers legal fees and lost wages, and how much if they do – these are usually the two major financial losses you face as a result of identity theft, so knowing whether you’re covered can provide you with an added sense of security.
Don’t Carry Your Cards
By this, we don’t just mean your credit cards – we mean cards that have any sort of identifying information on them, such as social security cards, debit cards, medical insurance cards, and so on. These cards are full of personal data, which thieves can use to figure out your identity. Additionally, they can use them to access your bank accounts, credit information, or even apply for a new credit card (and then spend your money).
Furthermore, the personal data that these cards contain can easily be manipulated in the wrong hands, allowing scammers to pretend to be you so skilfully that many of your loved ones may not even realize that they are being contacted by a fake.
Be Careful with Links and Attachments
Most businesses do a lot of work via email, which means you probably receive tons of emails each day. Because of this, it has become second nature to click on links in emails or download attachments.
However, if you don’t know who the sender of the email is, it’s essential to be very careful before taking either of these actions. These emails can often end up infecting your devices with malware and spyware, making identity theft easy. Even if you think you know who the sender is, double-check carefully – even a single misplaced letter can signify that the email is suspicious.
Aside from email links and attachments, be careful when clicking unknown links on social media websites and when interacting with pop-ups on your browser when browsing the Internet.
Make Sure You’re Using a Secure Website
Checking if a website is secure is actually pretty simple and doesn’t require any tech skills whatsoever – all you need to do is look at the top of your browser page, near the URL. If you can see a lock symbol, and the URL starts with the letters HTTPS (rather than HTTP), it means the site is secure.
Just because a site isn’t secure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t open it – they may have important information you need, especially if you’re a student looking for sources for a paper. What it does mean, however, is that you should be careful when using it. Never give out any private information on these websites, and never use them for financial transactions, including online purchases.
Look Into Additional Protection
No matter how many steps you take, it’s essential to remember that unless you’re particularly technically skilled, there’s only so much you can do to protect yourself against identity theft. However, there are a host of ways you can recruit external protection help.
As mentioned above, identity theft protection services are one option. Another option is installing software like:
- A firewall
- Anti-virus software
- Anti-spyware software
These will provide your devices with additional protection and reduce the risk of you being targeted by scammers. As an added advantage, anti-virus software can also help protect your devices and your data from non-identity theft computer viruses, which is especially essential when you have work information stored that you cannot afford to lose.
Identity theft isn’t a pleasant possibility to consider, but the fact is, it’s exactly that – a possibility, and a significant one at that. By taking all the steps possible to protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft, you help reduce the risk of falling victim to one of these criminals. Additionally, depending on what steps you’ve taken, your actions may also come in handy if your identity is ever stolen. They can help in bringing criminals to justice, supporting your case in court if needed, and restoring your identity and your finances back to you.
I’m is an owner of Venostech.com, blogger, Android and technology enthusiast. Individual who are educated in the IT and like to write according my scope.