5 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when personal information about an individual is stolen and used typically for financial gain. Criminals can obtain personal information electronically through hacking or illegally purchasing information from the Deep Web/Dark Web. They can also obtain information through paper records that are not properly disposed of or securely stored. Furthermore, they can trick you to disclose information using social engineering techniques and scams (i.e. this can occur over the phone, via text message or a phishing email).
Key pieces of personal information that are valuable to cybercriminals include financial and credit/debit card account information, medical and tax records, a driver’s license number, a Social Security number (“SSN”), and even usernames and passwords to accounts. It is very common for criminals to use the information they obtain to either make transactions or purchases with existing bank or credit/debit card accounts, open up new lines of credit in your name, pay for medical procedures, and attempt to file tax returns in your name to receive a refund.
Below we’ve listed five key steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft.
DON’T CARRY YOUR SSN CARD WITH YOU
Store SSN cards (along with other sensitive information) in a safe, safe deposit box or locked cabinet at all times and only bring out when needed.
USE A SHREDDER TO DISPOSE OF SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS, FINANCIALS, CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS
Don’t throw sensitive information into the trash. Even ripping up the paper and disposing of it may not be enough. There are “dumpster divers” that will go through your trash in search of this information. Instead use a shredder to ensure the information cannot be pieced back together.
PUT A CREDIT FREEZE OR FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR ACCOUNT
A credit freeze or fraud alert can limit the ability for someone (that is not you) to extend credit in your name.
LIMIT THE SHARING OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
Only share your personal information (especially your SSN) when you absolutely have to and with those that need to know. Don’t respond to suspicious requests for personal information. And it is also ok to question why someone needs that information or if other less sensitive information can be used in place.
USE RFID PROTECTORS WHEN TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY
Protect your passports and credit cards from cybercriminals that use RFID scanners to pull information off of these items by storing them in RFID holders.
We hope these suggestions have helped and as usual, if you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].