Protect your Personal Information from Identity Thievesby Joy Mali Writer
An increase in social media and smartphone
use has been one of the key factors contributing to the rise in identity theft.
With data breaches, inadequate smartphone security, and publicly displayed
information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter we are seeing a new breed of
identity thieves who surf the net in search of people who leave everything out
there and do not protect themselves as well as they should. You don’t have to
be one of those people. Learn how to fight back, and protect yourself with the
How Serious is Identity Theft?
In 2012 some 12.6 million Americans were affected by identity theft. This is the second-highest total since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began gathering ID theft statistics in 2003. This is roughly 5% of American citizens, and thefts in the billions of dollars.
Identity theft statistics also show that from 2001-2012 there has been a 533% increase in identity theft cases. It is the technology that helps make our lives easier, that also makes us more at risk.
With such a large volume of theft it is a wonder anyone is able to escape being attacked at some time in their life. All is not lost though, as there are well defined ways to help you avoid being victimized.
Protect Yourself Online
With social media being so prevalent into today’s world it shouldn’t be a shock to hear that much of a person’s information is being pulled from the internet prior to the initial identity theft. Two ways of protecting yourself from identity theft online:
- Recognize fake emails: We have all seen these; but, if you haven’t, all you need to do is look in your junk email folder. They may be there. These emails are either phishing for information by claiming to be a part of a company that you do business with, or pretending to represent a false company. The most common of these fake emails are called the Nigerian scams. The way they work is you are contacted by a “Nigerian King” who has been overthrown and has millions of American dollars he wants to give you, if only you’ll help him. Sounds fishy? It is, and it generates millions for these thieves.
your passwords safe: Try to create a password that only you
can remember, and a password that would be easy for you to remember.
Whether it is your animal, favorite food, place of birth, favorite author,
whatever to help you remember. In addition, make that simple password
stronger, by adding numbers and symbols. Maybe your favorite player’s
jersey number and an exclamation point.
Protecting yourself from other forms of Identity theft
Protecting your email account is important, but it’s also not the only place thieves’ prowl. Follow the steps below to make sure you are covering every aspect of your life.
- Be careful what you share: Social media is a breeding ground of personal information, and if you aren’t careful you may be sharing too much with people you don’t know. Utilize the security features on social media sites, allowing only people you trust to see your information. Or, better yet, don’t share your personal info.
- Keep personal documents secure: If you still use paper for your documents spend the money to purchase a keyed document safe. When you are done with them make sure you “shred the evidence,” so to speak. If you store your documents online make sure your computer has the most up to date anti-spyware and firewall protection available.
- Secure your smartphone: Smartphones all have password protection which allows access to your information. Another key program many smartphones are installing is a tracking device and an option that will secretly photograph anyone who unlocks your phone, or tries to unlock it but fails.
your credit report: Checking your credit report on a
monthly or quarterly basis will help you recognize odd activity on your
report and give you a chance to dispute it before thieves’ run away with
your identity and your pocketbook.
With a little extra caution and strong online protection
you are on your way to shielding yourself from identity theft and ensuring your
money stays in your bank account.
Joy Mali is an active blogger who is fond of writing articles on identity theft and advising people how to identify the theft signs and prevent identity theft. Follow her on Twitter to know more on how to protect your personal information from identity thieves.
Created on Dec 31st 1969 19:00. Viewed 0 times.