Identity theft affects millions every year. If you fall victim to it, your credit score can be destroyed, you can have difficulty opening new accounts, and you can even get in trouble with the IRS. If you haven’t gone through it, you can’t even imagine the intense amount of stress that identity theft victims are subjected to.
As terrifying as it is, there are few steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you.
You should under no circumstances give away your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. You should also keep your Social Security card in a safe, dry place, and take it outside as few times as possible.
We wrote an entire blog about oversharing on social media; however, you should also be cautious about what you tell people even in spoken conversations. Don’t be too quick to reveal potentially compromising information.
Sometimes, identity thieves will steal mail from their neighbors to steal their identity. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to just check your mail every day, but it would also help to install a security camera.
Connecting to public Wi-Fi is inherently compromising, and using a VPN is a wonderful way to protect bad actors from spying on your activity. If you’re curious about which VPNs are best, you can read about that right here.
Particularly clever identity thieves may try to fly under the radar once they steal your credit card or bank account information by only occasionally making small purchases in your local area. To make sure this isn’t happening, be sure to carefully audit any purchases made on your account, and report any suspicious activity to your bank.
Any and all important documents should be shredded. Here’s a list of things you should never put in the trash completely in tact.
In a previous article, we talked all about strong passwords, but in short, long passwords with lots of variance in characters, capitalization, and numbers will make it exponentially harder for people to brute force their way into your accounts.
We recently outlined in detail what Two-Factor Authentication is, how it keeps you more secure, and why you should use it. To summarize, many services give you the option to require confirmation from another source that it is actually you trying to log into your account by seeking validation in two or more different ways. This makes it basically impossible for somebody to remotely access any of your accounts.