The era when we used to know who we’re trading with is long gone. These days as a major part of our lives is spent online falling into the trap of identity theft is very common. We can avoid a Kardashian fan but cannot escape from ID theft. In fact, there’s no guaranteed protection form ID theft and no one is resistant to it. However, by taking precautionary measures and by being vigilant we can reduce the risk of identity theft.
Cybercriminals continue to find new ways to relieve you from your personal information and cash. But in a few simple steps, such deceptive traps can be easily avoided.
Don’t Panic With Proper and Advanced Planning, Loss and Risk can be Minimized
Identity fraud, the fastest growing online crime is where someone’s data is used to impersonate and deceive others for personal financial gain.
Here, we have listed few steps that you should take to reduce risk of identity theft.
Know More:- How Apps Leak Your Personal Data
Why is your Personal Information Stolen?
To perform two primary types of fraud threat actors, steal your personal information:
Account Takeover Fraud : Here the cybercriminal uses financial information to make a purchase. The victim gets to know about this when they receive a card or account statement.
New Account Fraud : when bad guys use SSN to open new accounts and get loans.
How Your Personal Information is Stolen ?
Various methods are used by threat actors to steal your personal data i.e. Social Security Numbers (SSNs), credit card details, username, passwords, date of birth and other pieces of personally identifiable information.
Ways used by Cybercriminals to Steal Personal Information:
- Data Breaches
- Collecting documents like pre-approved bank loan, boarding passes, credit card statement and others from dumpsters. As you throw them without tearing off printed personal information on it
- Stealing wallets
- By accessing compromised mail accounts to acquire pre-approved offers, bank statement, tax information, and other details
- By procuring SSNs and names from personnel or customer files
- Shoulder surfing at ATM machines
- Credit or debit card information skimming at ATM machines or point of sale
- Through dark web
- Phishing emails
- Hacking unsecured and unencrypted data files of financial institutions and retailers
Know More Why Is Online Privacy Important?
How to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft
If you suspect that your personal information has been compromised, and you are victim to ID theft you should take the following steps:
- Review your credit, debit card and bank statement to check if there’s any suspicious transaction
- Be vigilant while using credit and debit cards at stores and restaurants. As deceitful employees are known to use skimmers (a small device that can capture your card data). This data is used by threat actors for Internet shopping to create imitation cards
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards when shopping online as they are better protected in case of identity fraud
- Never disclose your credit, debit card number, SSN on phone or mail
- Avoid using the last four digits of SSN, birthdate when creating passwords and PINs
- Create complex and hard to guess passwords and PINs
- Register yourself for quick alert service to get information about bank withdrawals, card usage. So that if your card is not used by you get to know that in time and can take a prompt action before any more losses can be incurred
- Create reminder questions for extra security, in doing so don’t use your pets name, mother’s maiden name and other personally identifiable information as identity thieves are smart enough to crack and guess it
- Never use the same password for an account. Try not to save passwords online. You can use a password manager or can use Advanced Identity Protector program to securely save all personal information in an in-built Secure Vault. As all the information stored in Secure Vault is encrypted and can only be decrypted by using a password that’s only known to you
- Armor your hand when using bank ATM or using a card at the point of sale as threat actors may be using the camera to record keystroke or there may be a shoulder surfer around you
- Never reveal your SSN number on any online sites that aren’t official. If forced to share SSN number, ask them for an alternate or leave the site there and then. If possible avoid sharing SSN on a job application, can offer to share it when you go in person for the interview
- Avoid banking on public Wi-Fi as pranksters can take advantage of the negligent security of public WiFi to steal your personal information online
- Ask for credit reports once a year. Federal law gives you the right to get one free credit card report each year. You can get it from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian
Know More : – Is Information Security Really Important?
How to Order Annual Credit Report?
You can order an annual credit report online by visiting: www.annualcreditreport.com.
Moreover, can contact credit reporting agencies.
- Equifax http://www.equifax.com
- Experian http://www.experian.com
- TransUnion http://www.transunion.com
Federal Trade Commission
Phone: (877) IDTHEFT (877-438-4338)
Identity Theft Resource Center: http://www.idtheftcenter.org
Using these tips you can stay one step ahead of fraudsters and can safeguard yourself from identifying them. However, the best defense is to stop a fraudster at the entry gate. And this can be done only by you. As you are the one who decided to share and not share information. Only by being vigilant and by using programs that can secure and manage your personal information scattered all over the device you can stay secure. For this, you can use Advanced Identity Protector tool as it encrypts your data in an inbuilt Secure Vault that is hard to access for a hacker. The data stored in it can only be accessed by you using a password. Moreover, you should always keep an eye out and should always think before you act. Therefore, you too need to practice all the things you preach others to stay secure from being a victim to identity theft.