Identity theft is more than just losing your ID or social security number (both of which are still a nightmare, don’t get us wrong).
In extreme cases of identity theft, you can acquire a lien on your mortgage, lose real cash in your bank account, or gain a criminal record. The stakes for identity theft are high, to say the least.
While no strategy will guarantee your safety, there are some key steps you can take to prevent identity theft online.
5 Tips to Avoid Identity Theft
- Strengthen Your Passwords
If you’re using the same password on multiple websites, it’s time to strengthen your passwords! If you’re doing this, a breach on any single site could risk exposing your login credentials to cybercriminals for all other sites on which you use the same password.
We talk more about cybersecurity best practices for password security, including six tips for improving the security of your passwords. Most importantly, use complex and unique passwords for different logins.
Using a password manager to manage your unique passwords is also a great idea.
- Secure Your Documents
Keep important documents such as tax returns, birth certificates, and social security cards in a lockbox or fire-safe box. Since you won’t need regular access to their documents, ensuring they are stored securely reduces your risk of identity fraud.
Make sure to properly shred and dispose of important documents you no longer need, such as bank statements or any document containing your personal information.
- Lock Your Phone
Use strong authentication (i.e., passcode or face ID) to lock your phone. Unlocked phones are subject to hacking. Individuals are often logged into bank or social media and other accounts containing personal information. Without a lock on your phone, you open yourself up to breach of any of these accounts on your phone.
For phones, biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or fingerprint, remains the strongest form of security.
- Avoid Sharing or Providing Personal Information
Many times cybercriminals will look on social media accounts for potential answers to security questions or clues to passwords. Avoid sharing personal information such as birthdays or favorite colors on social media. Better yet, don’t use these answers as your passwords!
Additionally, if a company reaches out requesting personal information, always verify the source by calling the contact at the phone number you have on file, not the number in their email signature to avoid falling for a scam. If you believe the contact is legitimate, ask for a contact phone number after your due diligence.
- Be Smarter Than Scammers & Phishing
Understand the signs of scams and phishing. We shared tips to avoid phishing, including checking the source of attachments and verifying a sender by phone.
Cybersecurity Tips for Personal and Business
Taking steps to protect your personal identity is important to protect both sensitive information and your finances.
Practicing identity theft prevention tips will also serve you well at work. Many cyber-attacks start at the single-employee level. As an employee, if you operate with identity theft prevention mind, you can also help protect your organization from data breaches and ransomware attacks.
Get in touch with Clarity Technology Group here.