What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a serious offence that involves using someone else’s personal information without their consent in order to commit fraud. Identity theft is a type of fraud that occurs when someone steals another person’s personal information, such as their name, date of birth, social security number, credit card number, or other identifying details, without their knowledge or consent.
The perpetrator can use this information to impersonate the victim and use their identity to open new accounts, apply for loans, purchase goods or services, or engage in other fraudulent activities. This can result in financial losses, credit score damage, and other serious consequences.
Identity theft may occur through a variety of means, including computer hacking, phishing scams, physical theft of documents or mail, and even social engineering techniques that trick victims into disclosing personal information.
How to Protect Against Identity Theft
Prevention of identity theft begins with an effort to stay informed about how to protect yourself against such crimes. Here is an in-depth discussion of the possible methods of preventing identity theft.
Before we dive into this discussion, it is important for you to know that identity theft attorney Georgia can help you with your identity theft claims.
1. Destroy Personal Documents
Although hackers tend to steal your sensitive personal data online, yet many technologically unsound identity thieves end up stealing your trash in the hope to find your private statements. Hence, you should not forget to shred your personal information before discarding them. These may involve:
- Transaction receipts
- Medical statements
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Personal records
- Savings account statement
- Expired credit or debit cards
2. Check what you’re sharing on Social Media
The identity thieves tend to stalk the over-sharers. When you share personal information like your birthday, phone number, or pet’s name on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, you tend to help online thieves who might be searching for the key to crack the security questions. So, if you are active on social media, ensure that you have a strong privacy setting; you are not connected to, friends with, or followed by individuals you do not really know or recognize; and you are not sharing too much private data unknowingly.
3. Create Strong Passwords
You will find most websites asking you to create strong passwords. Pay heed to them and consider adding at least a character, a number, and a capital letter to your password to make it complex. Do not use personal identifiers like the maiden name of your mother or your birthday in your passwords. Remember to change your password occasionally to ensure it is protected at all times.
4. Make Your Network Ultra Secure
Logging in to public Wi-Fi networks makes your computer vulnerable to online thieves. In order to prevent such risks, consider making use of a private virtual network when using public Wi-Fi. You may also consider using firewalls for ensuring the protection of your data as well as network against hackers.
5. Avoid Fishy Links and Websites
Do not click on suspicious links given in SMS or e-mails. It is a routine practice of hackers to make use of websites, messages, and emails that appear exactly like that of your financial institution. It is also advisable to not enter your credentials on a dubious login page.
6. Say a “YES” to Two-Factor Authentication
This kind of authentication process secures the logging in procedure to an application or a website by including multiple steps for getting into an account.
7. Keep a Watch on Your Credit Reports
The credit reports may reflect potential dubious activities related to your bank account. Hence, checking the credit reports at regular intervals will help you detect a discrepancy as soon as it occurs.
8. Get Alert Notifications on Your Phone
Besides reviewing your bank and credit card statements regularly, you should also consider signing up for mobile alerts. This will give your financial institution a chance to notify you through SMS or email if and when a dubious transaction is made. Installing the official mobile application of your bank on your phone will help you stay updated with your accounts at all times. If and when you detect an unauthorized transaction, get in touch with your bank promptly.
9. Be Careful About Lurkers
Identity thieves are not just stalking people online. They may even stalk you physically to obtain your personal identity. Hence, watch out for the presence of any suspicious personality while:
- Making use of a public computer system at a café or library
- Entering your PIN at the ATM
- Surfing the internet at the office
10. Use a Secured Mailbox
Many identity thieves end up stealing mails from the mailboxes of people in the hope of obtaining credit card or bank statements or other sensitive information. In order to protect your mails, consider keeping your mailbox locked and retrieving the mails immediately after they are dropped. If you are going on a vacation, consider placing a hold over your mail or asking somebody to pick your mails up for you.
The Final Words
With cases of data theft and hacking making headlines all over the globe, safeguarding sensitive financial and personal data has become more crucial than ever. That being said, however, protecting name, credit and debit card numbers, birthday, and SS number may be difficult. In such a scenario, the above steps will help you keep your identity safe and secure. You can hire an identity theft attorney Georgia if you experience breach of personal data. Furthermore, a fraud defense attorney Cobb County can be hired to help the accused personages in going through the legal procedures. A fraud defense attorney can also help individuals who are wrongly accused of false identity theft charges.
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