7 Ways To Protect Your Identity
Updated February 2023
Identities are stolen every day and people don’t even know when it’s happened to them. According to the FTC, 2.8 million identity and fraud reports were made in 2021. That’s up 70% from 2020. Scammers know hundreds of ways to steal your identity so it’s important to know how to protect yourself, so you don’t lose yours. Below you’ll find 7 Ways To Protect Your Identity.
1. Keep Your Personal Information Personal
Know when and who you’re sharing any kind of personal information with. Whether it’s bank account information, a social security number, or hobbies/interests, make sure you’re sharing with the appropriate people. For instance, be careful of what information you’re sharing on social media accounts. Things like your favorite pet’s name or a family member’s name can give scammers information they can use to hack your accounts.
- Stop oversharing on social media.
- Don’t answer calls/text messages from unknown numbers.
- Don’t sign up for services with personal information unless absolutely necessary.
2. Stay Up-to-Date On Scams
Scams pop up everywhere from phones to social media, emails, and websites. Learn about what scams are popular and how to spot them. People are receiving their economic impact payments and filing taxes right now so those are two huge scams to watch for.
- Visit the FTC website for scam alerts.
- Register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Avoid opening emails or text messages from unsolicited senders.
3. Use Secure Passwords
Passwords are the key to unlocking your personal information so it’s important you take the time to create a strong & unique one. We recommend use all four types of characters including: capital letters (ABC), lowercase letters (abc), numbers (123) and punctuation marks/special characters (!?#$).
- Don’t use the same password for all accounts.
- Use a password manager like LastPass to store your passwords.
- Utilize multi-factor authentication.
4. Keep An Eye On Your Credit Score
Your credit report contains important information you can use to monitor all types of accounts and loans you’ve opened and any fraudulent activity that may occur. If someone has stolen your identity you may see a loan on your report that you definitely didn’t apply for. This can be an initial indicator that something isn’t right.
- Check your credit report quarterly.
- Use annualcreditreport.com for a FREE copy.
5. Keep Your Devices Secured
A lot of us LIVE on our devices including phones, tablets, and laptops making them a prime target for hackers. This is why it’s important to keep your devices updated with the latest software whether it’s Microsoft or Apple.
- Turn on automatic updates in your settings.
- Check and see which of your mobile apps have access to information on your phone. You can find this in your settings.
- Clear your browser history.
- Only visit sites with an https address.
- Don’t use unsecured WIFI networks.
6. Watch For Credit Card Skimming
Card skimming is another sneaky way scammers are stealing people’s money. A card skimmer is a device that steals card information by reading your debit or credit card’s magnetic strip. Learn more about card skimming HERE.
- Cover the keypad when you’re inputting your PIN.
- If you’re at a gas station, pay inside.
- Monitor your debit and credit card accounts regularly.
7. Protect Personal Documents
Fraudsters attack on all fronts and scavenge for your information digitally and physically. If you have important physical documents, make sure to keep them locked up and out of sight. Fraudsters will even resort to taking mail from your mailbox so make sure you’re not leaving anything inside.
- Shred personal documents.
- Check your mailbox daily.
If you’re looking for additional ways to protect your identity, CLICK HERE. We hope these 7 Ways To Protect Your Identity were helpful.