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Top Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Top Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Recent studies have shown that identity theft has seen a huge rise, with someone’s identity being stolen every 3.5 seconds in the United States. Thieves use personal identity information, or PII, such as names, date of birth, driver’s license numbers and social security numbers to steal someone else’s identity.

People often see it as an online only crime, however, there are various ways people could gain this key information. It can come from stolen mail, wallets, stolen documents, phishing scams or a computer virus. Once they have gained this PII, thieves are able to use the information to make purchases on your credit card, open new credit cards and more.

How can you minimize the risk of becoming and identity theft victim?

To help avoid falling victim to this crime, there are some important tips you should follow. These can really help to decrease the risk and should be followed by everyone.

  • Strengthen passwords: The easiest way to obtain personal information online is by hacking into your accounts. People often use passwords that are easy to remember, but this means they can also be easier to figure out. Avoid using passwords which would be easy to guess, such as dates of birth, pet names, your mother’s maiden name or popular passwords. The safest passwords will be at least 8 characters long and will contain a combination of lower/upper case letters, numbers and symbols.

  • Perform a credit check: You would be surprised at how often identity theft can go on without people even realizing it. Before you know it people will have spent loads of money in your name, which can have a big impact on your credit rating. It’s easy to get a free credit check and you are actually entitled to one free credit report each year. Make the most of it by using the credit report to find any errors.

  • Be careful with your PII: It’s important to be wary of who you give out personal information to. These days, people share their whole lives via the internet using social media sites and blogs. Some of this sensitive information can be used to help authenticate a person’s identity, such as your phone number, address, date of birth and SSN. Avoid posting these details online for the world to see.

  • Beware of Phishing Scams: Many people fall victim to these scams, which is why they are unfortunately still widely used today. These email scams work by tricking you into giving out personal information to someone you think you can trust. You may receive an email which claims to come from your bank, asking you to click a link where you will have to key in personal details. Trustworthy companies would never ask you to do this. If you have any concerns always contact your bank first.

Unfortunately, there are many ways people can come to obtain sensitive personal information. The more careful you are with your details, the better chance you have of avoiding your identity being stolen. Always be wary when asked to give out personal information and be cautious over how you store it.

 

About Viet N.

Legal analysis with a focus on cases in Florida. Dedicated to a fair and just legal system.