Identity theft occurs on a daily basis and is everywhere. Doing a quick Google search about it, will yield millions of results on how to prevent it from happening. And there are even movies like Identity Thief, which paints the picture of how horrible it is to be in this situation.
Although some helpful sites may state the obvious — like don’t give our your personal information to anyone — there are those other underrated tips that many don’t know and could help prevent the next identity theft.
Unfortunately, recovering from identity theft is hard, just as the Consumer Federal Trade Commission suggests. Crimes like identity theft tends to happen to those who least expect it.
I’ve compiled a bunch of great tips that you can use to prevent someone from snatching your identity. Although none of these tips are bulletproof, it can however, reduce the chances of it happening to you.
Think you might be a victim of identity theft or want more information on how to prevent one? Go to the official Federal Trade Commission’s website — there are more tips on how to prevent your identity from getting stolen.
- Cut back on social media info — Publicizing too much information on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can increase your chances at identity theft. If you can, try and lock all your personal information as private.
According to reports, a person who has your personal information, will search you up on social media to get an overview of who you are and what you do. This gives the thief a better idea of who’s identity they have just stolen.
- Use a strong antivirus software — There are several antivirus software that can protect your computer from trojans, malwares and hackers. It’s also important not to use a cheap freebie from download.com.
More and more identity thefts are happening as a result of opening an infected email or downloading a suspicious file, says Michael McKeown, supervisory special agent, FBI Cyber Division.
- Burn all the bread crumbs — Old personal information like addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, can lead to a trail for identity thieves to collect and use. In addition, identity thieves may look through garbage or old documents to steal as much personal information as possible. If you’re moving, make sure not to leave any documents behind.
Any documents that you are throwing away, cut them into little pieces before placing them in the trash bag. Credit cards that that are no longer useful, cut them into four or more pieces.
One great way to get rid of old documents is to place them inside your barbecue, lit them on fire, sweep off the ashes and you’re done.
- Use Wi-Fi and passwords — If you ever get tempted to use your neighbor’s Wi-Fi, be careful. Hackers can break into unsecured Wi-Fi connections and steal information very easily.
In the case of passwords, use letters, numbers and a symbol. Never use a password more than twice. Also, NEVER put your birthday, address, SSN or phone number as your password.
- Monitor your credit — If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, don’t wait, immediately call your bank. If your credit score has dropped without explanation, freeze your credit immediately and contact your bank.
(Photo via Identity Thief by Universal Pictures)