Identity is, without doubt, an essential thing for any individual, and taking into account the mechanisms of the modern world, it has become even more critical. With millions of identity theft cases being witnessed and reported in the US alone every year, it has become ever more important to take measures to protect your identity. Keep in mind that if you lose your identity, you will lose your most valuable possession, and that is ‘you.’ Here are some steps you should follow to prevent identity theft:
1 – Password Security
Over the last couple of decades, passwords have become a significant part of our lives, and we use them for various purposes. One of the primary reasons behind the increasing number of identity theft cases is that the majority of people adopt a lackluster approach when it comes to password security. If someone gets access to any of your online accounts or your computer because you do not have a strong password, you are definitely at significant risk of losing your identity. Like most people, you are likely to have extremely sensitive information in such accounts.
We highly recommend creating and maintaining strong passwords; do not opt for guessable or easy passwords. Make sure your passwords are a mixture of numbers, symbols, capital, and small letters. On top of that, you should change your passwords after every three to four months and must not use the same passwords for multiple accounts. You should also password-protect your cell phone and not share your passwords or pins, even with your family or friends.
The UK’s IT support provider, Mustard IT, has also shared some good password practices, reminding users to create strong passwords to ensure adequate protection of their online accounts. We can summarize generally accepted password practices into the following points:
- Never check the “Keep Me Logged In” option while using public computers.
- Use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.
- Lengthy but easy-to-remember code is an effective tool to make your password least guessable. Using phrases as passkeys that hold a meaning for you is also a strong password.
- Don’t stick with one password for a more extended period.
- Never repeat the same password for different accounts, i.e., bank account, email, or social networking accounts.
- Flush out your browser cookies and cache regularly.
It is a consideration for all business managers, with employees handling the company’s business and social media accounts. If they adopt good password practices, they can help themselves by securing their accounts against hackers who usually exploit our malpractices to sneak into our accounts.
2 – Avoid Giving Sensitive Information on the Phone
Nowadays, most people receive dozens of telemarketing calls every day, and some of us have a habit of buying things over the phone. In any case, we advise you not to give sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account information on your phone, as it may lead to identity theft.
3 – Mail Outgoing Bills from the Post Office
Instead of using a mailbox for outgoing mail, especially to financial institutions or mail that carry important data, we guide people to use the post office or a secure US Postal Service dropbox. Criminals use mailboxes for hunting for identities.
4 – Tear up Expired Credit Cards
If any of your credit or debit card has expired, you should cut them into pieces before throwing them away. You can expect anything from thieves as they may even go through the garbage to steal someone’s identity.
5 – Check Your Credit Report & Bank Statements Regularly
In order to check for fraudulent accounts and other information, you should obtain your credit report regularly to be on the safer side. If you witness errors on the credit report, you must report those errors to the credit bureau immediately in order to avoid any future hassle. Most people tend to ignore the bank statements they receive every month. We suggest you carefully review the statements you receive from your creditors. It will help you a great deal in avoiding identity theft.
6 – Beware of Phishing ScamsPhishing scams are one of the most typical techniques thieves adopt to steal the identity of innocent people. Therefore, you must not click on links given in random emails. Remember that if you have never participated in a lottery or competition, you can never win it. Therefore, you should avoid all these fake emails because they aim to steal your personal information.