Identity theft has grown exponentially in this decade, becoming one of the most dangerous virtual crimes people can encounter. Identity theft is an illegal operation or crime in which a cyber criminal or hacker tries to obtain valuable information, whether business or personal, in order to steal money or acquire personal data.
Hackers can steal anything from social security numbers and phone numbers to addresses, passwords, account numbers and driver’s license numbers. Because identity theft is estimated to affect tens of millions of people all around the world (out of which 9 million live in the US), it is imperative to get the peace of mind that you are protected.
In order to minimize the risk of becoming the next identity theft victim, here are 7 easy things you can do to stay protected.
1. Strengthen your Passwords
First of all, you should make sure that your passwords for important accounts are all different, and that each password contains at least 8 characters, out of which one is a number, one an uppercase letter and one a special character. Using non-dictionary words when setting up your password is also highly recommended.
2. Do not Give out Personal Information
You should never give out personal information to anybody, either via phone or email. Many hackers have infiltrated in the main communication channels and are able to steal the information shared between parties.
3. Protect your wallet
Identity theft can occur not just online, but also in real life. ATM thieves are well versed in reading your pin number and then stealing your wallet from under your nose. Even though you might not be able to protect your pin from being stolen when withdrawing money from the ATM, you can definitely ensure that your wallet is kept safe.
4. Check your Bank Accounts Statements Regularly
Another way to ensure that you are safe from identity theft is to examine your account statement on a regular basis. In case you find any unauthorized charges, contact the bank immediately and block your card.
5. Set up Alarms
This is one of the most effective ways get the peace of mind that your accounts are all safe. Set up alarms at all your cards so that you get an sms and an email every time you or someone else use your card to make a purchase, a payment, a transfer or a withdrawal.
6. Protect your Computer and Smartphone
In our digital world, accessing one’s computer or smartphone is a breeze for experienced hackers. Thus, you need to ensure that you use the best firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs. Ensure that they are licensed and that these programs are always up to date.
7. Consider Investing in an Identity Theft Protection Service
Ultimately, you should consider choosing an identity theft protection service (tip: read the reviews from idtheftauthority.com). There are a lot of companies offering unique theft identity protection against cyber criminals. Choose the right one for you and rest assured that you are safe and well protected from cyber criminals.