If you are not aware of, or protecting yourself against, identity theft then you have either already been compromised or are likely to find yourself the subject of criminality in the near future.
The level of identity theft online is frankly mind blowing and efforts to protect yourself range from cautious attempts to avoid being scammed to electing to run software to pretty much eliminate the potential risk.
In 2019 over 14 million Americans were the subject of some form of identity theft, effectively one in 15, and that level is growing daily. Attackers are always learning new ways to fool you into either giving them your information or designing ways to get that information from your devices.
Interestingly the level of threat in the US is twice that of most other nations, which means two things. One, we aren’t protecting ourselves as well as other nations and two, that attackers are very keen on securing the information of Americans.
While those over the age of 55 are the most at risk of such an attack, the younger generation is also prone to identity theft attacks. The good news is, there is a lot you can do to prevent becoming the next victim.
This sounds like a fairly obvious starting point but you’d be surprised just how naive some individuals can be when it comes to accessing important information on their devices.
Never open unsolicited links (which may come via emails or messages to your mobile device) and do not provide any personal information to anyone. Even those who legitimately represent your banking services will never ask you for passwords or other crucial information.
Use strong passwords for those accounts that are most important and don’t replicate the same password across multiple sites and services.
Limit Scope of Use
Most of us deal with our banking and financial service tasks online, when previously we may have only done this in person with our banking managers.
The act of signing into these services via your personal devices is basically what an identity thief lives for. You can add another, simple, level of security by limiting the number of devices you use.
For instance you could elect to just use your home computer, not your work computer or personal or company phone, to access this pivotal information.
Beware When Shopping
As we, on a societal level, elect to do more and more of our shopping online, so does the possibility of us having our critical information stolen. When browsing, and shopping, online only do so on reputable sites.
It’s best to stick to the sites aligned to the same brands you would visit on the main street, rather than following links to great deals on websites that we’ve never previously heard of or used.
Again, as with limiting the number of devices you use to access banking information, think also about sticking with a handful of places that you shop online. The fewer locations you access and enter your personal data, the fewer chances you give to an identity thief.
Freeze Your Credit
This may seem like a big step to take but it is perhaps the clearest way you can stop an id thief from doing their worst. You can lock your credit at a certain level so as to prevent any identity thief really going to town on your account. You can request that your bank contacts you when any suspicious activity occurs, again stopping the problem at source.
Regardless of the perils of identity theft, you should have a strong level of anti-virus protection on your desktop and mobile, always look for the level of service they offer when it comes to identity theft specifically.
Make sure the anti-virus protection you have is not out of date as it’s common for many to not realise that the service they have needs updating.
Anti Identity Theft Providers
There are many companies, and services, that offer protection that is designed to provide the utmost protection from the malicious attempts to secure your personal information in order to commit identity theft and in many ways it makes sense to use these to best fight the threat.
When it comes to protecting yourself from id theft we’d recommend TransUnion and the different tools they offer and you read more about it in this link. TransUnion is one of the best in the business when it comes to protection from id theft. They are highly reputable and their dedicated assistance program, for victims of fraud, offers you great peace of mind as does the daily access to your credit report, which is provided.
The prospect of being the victim of identity theft, despite our best efforts, will always be increasing and you need to be on your toes and fully aware of your actions in order to reduce the chances of being the latest casualty in the identity theft war.