Identity theft is a crime, scam, or deception that results in the loss of personal data. Such data includes usernames, credit card numbers, banking information, social security numbers, passwords, and health IDs. In this blog post, we will look at simple steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft:
Freeze your credit
When you freeze your credit with the three primary reporting bureaus-TransUnion, Equifax and Experian-you restrict access to your records. No one can open new credit files unless you unfreeze your account. Freezing and unfreezing your account with the three bureaus is free.
Although freezing your account offers the best protection, you can also opt to lock your credit. All the three major reporting bureaus have apps that can help you lock your credit using your smartphone.
Protect your mobile devices
Gaining access to people’s phones is one of the main ways fraudsters gain access to personal information. Therefore, protecting your mobile device is one of the ways you can protect yourself from identity theft.
Here are some of the ways you can keep your mobile phone safe; use a password on your phone, keep all your software updated, keep Bluetooth off unless you are using it, avoid using public WI-FI, and avoid opening suspicious-looking emails or attachments.
Safeguard Your Social Security Number
Your social security number is like a master key to your personal information. Please do not share it unless it is necessary. Whenever you are asked to share your SSN, ask why it is needed, and how it will be protected. Store your card safely, and do not carry it around with you unless it is necessary to do so. Also, remember to shred any paperwork containing your social security number before disposing of it.
Watch your mail
Your mail contains most of your personal information. Have your mail held whenever you are leaving town. You can also get a lockable mailbox.
Another step you can take to protect your mail is to sign up for informed delivery. This way, you can tell when something is missing from your mail. Whenever you get a past due or collection notice that seems erroneous, please don’t ignore it. It might be a sign of identity theft.
Always shred your paperwork
Don’t throw away any documents containing your personal information with your garbage. Shred all documents with your data, including your junk mail.
Use a digital wallet
If you use the internet to make payments, use a digital wallet. A digital wallet is an app that contains secure versions of your debit and credit cards. You can use your digital wallet at a compatible checkout terminal or shop online. Transactions conducted via a digital wallet are tokenized and encrypted for increased security.
Although you cannot protect yourself from identity theft entirely, applying the tips we have shared in this post will go a long way in enabling you reduce the risk of having your personal information stolen.