If you have ever fallen victim to identity theft, or know someone who has, then you know exactly how horrible and tiring the experience can be. Thieves can access all your personal information and pretend to be you in another part of the word. While offline identity theft has been around for a very long time and has much prevention, online theft is still growing and new means of accessing information has become easier. This leaves the responsibility to you to protect yourself and keep your identity safe while online. Let’s go over a few methods of protection that can help you with preventing such things from happening.
This term is very well known in the internet community. Website phishing is a very popular way to steal information online. Thieves will post fake websites that are very similar, if not identical, to its official counterpart. For example, you might think you are logging into your bank account but in reality you just released your private information to a fake. Here are a few items they take priority in stealing:
- Social Security Number
- Credit Card Numbers
- Full Name & Address
- Bank Account Numbers
- Health Insurance ID
Try to stay away from any types of unsolicited emails or website ads that spam free deals.
When roaming through the World Wide Web, try and have a nice list of secure passwords for all important websites. You can easily create a list of these passwords and place them in a secure cloud system that can protect them better than the average computer user. When creating secure passwords try and use a combination of capital and lowercase letters mixed with numbers. If you have trouble, you can easily look online for password generators that have made a name for themselves such as LastPass.
Virtual Private Networks
When out and about in the physical world, and you are carrying vital information on your laptop or phone, you will definitely need a VPN. This will allow you to mask your private information and give security to your data transfers. File sharing, or P2P, has gotten very popular over recent years. Criminals sneaking viruses that can cause extreme harm into files just comes with the territory. By downloading the wrong thing online, or while using public Wi-Fi, you can easily have your identity stolen in a matter of seconds from your personal computer or smartphone.
Disposing of Electronics
Many of us have old cell phones, laptops, and hard drives lying around that we don’t use anymore and they could hold vital information on them without us even knowing. When disposing of old electronics, whether it’s donating to charity, throwing away, or recycling, try to wipe all the personal information from the drives. You can use utility programs to overwrite the drives and clean the data from laptops and phones.
Make sure you transfer all the contacts and messages from your old cell phones, so nothing gets out to the public. You can look at owner manuals online or your service provider to guide you on how to format the phone. Once you throw them away, you will never see it again, so make sure it’s as clean as it can be.
These are very simple scams but have been very popular over the years. You will have unsolicited emails from companies you’re subscribed to attempting to recover your password or attempting to get you to log in to their premade site. Make sure you try and filter your emails and stay away from the unsolicited ones waiting in your inbox. Avoiding these types of scams are easy, but you should not overlook the possibilities of it happening to you.
Social Media Sites
With social media sites being on the rise, more and more people are connected. Try to be careful and watch how much information you leak out to the public as you post what you had for lunch. With the new GPA location indicator whenever you visit restaurants, banks, airports, everyone on your friends list can see where you’ve been. This type of information sharing can be extremely dangerous, if someone stole your credit card earlier that day, they can look you up on a social media site and learn your address or even worse.
Take all the information we went through into consideration and be aware of what is out there. Keep all your personal information safe. Falling victim to these types of events can really hurt you for a long time.