Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s personal information for criminal activities. With knowledge of your personal information, criminals can access your bank accounts, apply for loans, transfer bank balances, and much more – under the guise of being you.
Continue reading to learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft.
What is Your Personal Information?
Criminals can use your personal information to access your existing accounts, such as bank accounts and credit cards. Be mindful not to give out the following information to untrusted sources:
- Date of birth
- Full address
- Methods of contact such as your phone number or email address
- Your username and password for online services
- Driver license number, passport number, social insurance number, etc.
- Credit card and other banking information
Watch Out for These Tricks
Criminals have plenty of ways to gather personal information that may seem harmless at first glance. Common tactics include false advertising, fake telemarketer calls, scams, phishing, and skimmer devices.
In addition, be mindful about “winning prizes” for contests that you have not entered. For example, you may receive an email suggesting that you have won a prize. All you need to do to receive the award is provide your personal information. Ignoring the email is the best way to stay safe.
Who are Common Targets
Some individuals may be more susceptible to identity theft than others. For example, seniors or youth are common targets because they may not be familiar with scams and false advertising strategies used by criminals. In addition, people who use weak passwords are also easily targeted. Criminals can easily predict weak passwords and access existing accounts. Furthermore, individuals that make plenty of online purchases are also susceptible to identity theft. Only make purchases on credible websites when shopping online.
Keeping your personal information secure is the best way to protect yourself against identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is to be wary about giving out your personal information. Some strategies to protect yourself include:
- Review your consumer credit report annually.
- Review and report suspicious activities that you didn’t perform.
- Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication to protect your account.
- Be wary about oversharing personal information on social media or manage your privacy settings to control who can see your content.
- Make sure your mailbox is secure so that strangers cannot access your mail.
- Destroy sensitive documents that contain your personal information
- Consider getting a document lockbox at home or a security deposit box at a bank.
Looking for More Help?
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