Things have changed over the past few decades, and not all of the changes are good. For instance, the numbers of cases of identity theft are on the increase, and this does not just include financial identity theft; there are actual a number of different types of identity theft. However, the two types that is the most common and most damaging are financial identity theft and criminal identity theft.
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What can you do to protect yourself from identity theft? Before you can begin to think of preventive measures it is essential to understand how cyber criminals operate. There is not just one way they utilize to steal a person’s personal information and money. You need to liken this to protecting yourself from a burglar entering your house: you wouldn’t give your house key to a burglar, so you want to protect your personal information from cyber criminals in the same manner. This means you need to be aware of the common tricks these criminals use in order to gain access to your personal information and commit identity theft. Listed below are some of the ways you can protect you from these criminals and reduce the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.
• Never reply to any email, instant message or webpage that asks for any personal of financial information. Always keep in mind no bank or financial institution is going to ask for personal information in this manner.
• If you follow a link that arrived in an email or chat, do not enter your password even if you think it might be a site you trust such as your bank. Instead click out of the site and manually input the URL into your browser.
• Avoid sending your password through email communications and don’t share it with anyone else. Giving your password to someone else is like giving your house key to a burglar. Legitimate sources will never ask you to send your password in email, so the best thing to do is not respond at all to these requests. You want to think carefully before sharing your passwords with others even friends and family. Even within your family you may find there is information you don’t want everyone to know, but sharing your password gives them access to that information.
• Be careful when you sign in to a website online. The first thing you want to check is the URL to ascertain it looks real; it should be a secure website that begins with https. Some websites also include a padlock icon on the address bar next to the https. Both of these are signs of an encrypted connection that is less likely to be compromised.
• Report any scams and emails that seem suspicious. Only by reporting these problems can you help protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.
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What can you do to prevent identity theft? By following all of the steps above you can make sure you are doing what you can to protect your personal information. Some people also feel an additional level of protection by paying for a credit monitoring service.
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