It’s America’s fastest growing crime with nearly 15 million victims every year, and while it may look like a fun time at the movies, it’s a serious crime that shows no signs of stopping.
Identity theft has become extremely easy with the advent of new technologies that allow fast, easy information sharing across a variety of platforms. The temptation for hackers and thieves to pry into your most important information has never been stronger! Couple that with the cavalier attitude that many users have towards shoring up their personal information and you have a recipe for nearly $50 billion in financial losses annually.
By finding out your social security number, credit card information or banking details, an identity thief has the ability to impersonate you, disrupt your finances and even tarnish your reputation.
Here are some tips for making sure you don’t become an easy target.
Don’t Include Sensitive Information in E-mails or Text Messages
Your bank will never request your information via e-mail or text. Thieves can craft messages where they attempt to impersonate banks or other financial institutions, but don’t be fooled. If you receive a message asking you for information like your credit card number or checking account, flag it and delete it. You should only use this information on websites with secure forms or sites that are HTTP secure.
Stay off of Untrusted Networks
Who doesn’t love free wireless? Still, it’s best to avoid logging on to unsecured, public networks. They have fewer security measures in place to shield you from cyber snoopers. If you do need to get on an open, unregulated network, make sure that you don’t engage in activities like online banking, where prying eyes might find exactly what they are looking for.
Don’t Share your Passwords
Many of our applications and e-mail accounts contain a lot of confidential information. Treat your login information with the same care as your pin number. Make sure that all of your passwords are known to you alone. Avoid sharing it even with close people like family members. Once you’ve shared your information with one person, you’ve already lost control over it.
Use Secure Passwords
A password should be easy for you to recall, but difficult for others to guess. Simply using your lastname, for example, is a terrible idea! While it will be easy for you to remember, a potential thief can guess it just by knowing finding out your full name. For a smart password, use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters. If you’re allowed, also use numbers and symbols.
Lock Information Away
A virtual vault where you can safely store confidential information is an ideal way to protect yourself from identity theft. That way, you can still take advantage of everything your phone has to offer and be safe about it. You can enjoy the convenience of doing things like online banking without the risk of being exposed. The Record Vault app does just that, also providing a space where you can safely lock away vital information like your blood type, making it accessible to emergency responders if they ever need it.
Thinking about cybersecurity is the first step towards protecting yourself from indentity theft. Always use your common sense and err on the side of sharing less information instead of more. If your instincts are telling you that a situation seems unusual or suspicious, it might be for very good reasons. Don’t become a statistic and start putting these best practices in place today!
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