Identity theft involves using someone else’s personal data as your own. This is done for various reasons including money, escaping from the law or just to obtain benefits that the real person is entitled to. Many people are victim to this crime in the US. You can protect yourself from identity theft by always ensuring you take a few precautionary measures.
How to avoid identity theft:
- Keep personal information personal: Do not respond to calls, messages, letters, emails, or messages on social sites asking for your personal details. These are all ways to obtain personal information for identity theft and misuse.
- Use the internet wisely: Very often we go about telling the world our whereabouts and revealing parts of our life. Be secretive about what you reveal online. Do not get carried away by messages that you have won sweepstakes! Check out FTC’s guidelines for staying safe online.
- Passwords: Make sure that your passwords are strong enough. Do not use personal information for passwords. These can be easily hacked through. Avoid keeping one password for everything.
- Security features: Your mobile and computer should be updated with regard to their security features such as lock systems and passwords.
- Review firewalls in public wi-fi services: When using these services, your firewall should be in place to avoid misuse of information.
- Billing cycles: Keep a track of all your billing cycles and be on task to retrieve them as soon as possible. Keep all paper transactions safely. If not needed, shred them before dumping them into the bin.
- Watch out for unwarranted transactions in your bank accounts and report if necessary.
Having fallen into identity theft, it is essential to recover from it. There are different ways that one can recover from identity theft:
- Report theft: Once observed, report the theft as soon as possible.
- Alert banks, stores and any place where you would use those details.
- Block the cards, consider credit freeze and close any accounts opened in your name without your permission.
- Replace government issued Id cards like social security number cards and so on.
- Certain accounts like phones, government benefits and student loans have different ways of the recovery process. Check them out.
Have you been victim to identity theft? Let us know how you managed it. Share your story in the comments section below.