Identity theft is an epidemic in the United States.
According to industry reports, over 5 million Americans have their identities stolen each year and over 500 million personal records have been compromised since 2005 through attacks on the databases of organizations, institutions, and government bodies.
But identity theft doesn’t just wreak havoc on your finances and credit score; it puts you in dilemma, as the process of recovering your identity is one heck of a nightmare.
Clearing up identity theft requires time and money—hours spent getting affidavits and reports proving the fraud, figuring out what has been compromised, and then working with various parties and professionals to recover your identity. Hectic, right? Protect yourself online by following these latest identity protection tips.
1) Safeguard Your Personal Information Online
The internet is a dangerous place. Be wary about the information you share online. It’s okay to share your ground beef taco recipe or that OLED TV you bought in preparation for the long-awaited PS 5 gaming but refrain from posting any personal information.
Cybercriminals are hunting social media for easy prey and personal info such as your email address, birth date, social security number, etc. can be used for committing cyber theft. Protect yourself by leveraging the latest security features that most of the social media platforms offer.
For example, Facebook offers second-step authentication when logging in. Activating this on your profile can add an extra layer of security. Another thing you should do is change your Facebook settings for posts to “friends only.” This will help to keep off the public from accessing your profile and any info you share online.
2) Get Professional Help
When it comes to protecting your identity online, it’s good to seek professional aid. Today, many monitoring companies offer identity protection services such as dark web monitoring, social reporting, 3-bureau credit monitoring, and address monitoring.
These companies also provide safe browsing tools to protect you from phishing. In the event of any suspicious activity around your account, they will send you alerts so you can stay vigilant and take the necessary actions.
3) Shield Your Computer
Protect sensitive information on your computer by following better security practices. These include:
- Use strong passwords
- Encrypt your hard drive
- Set up a firewall
- Install antivirus and antimalware software
- Download software only from trusted sources
In addition, you can install a virtual private network (VPN) to further protect your information as you browse online. A VPN can mask your IP address, preventing cybercriminals from tracking your data back to your network.
4) Be Cautious When Shopping Online
In this digital age, shopping online has become a lifestyle and a standard. But behind that lifestyle lies unknown dangers that can wreak havoc to your finances and credit.
As such, it’s important to be cautious when shopping online. Never provide your personal information—card details, email address, birth date, etc. unless a site is secure. Only shop on sites that use https protocol.
To know whether a site is secure, look for security symbols such as an unbroken padlock to the left side of the URL. Also, always right-click on the padlock to ensure it’s up to date. Sites that are not secure will expose your data to cybercriminals.
We hope this information will help to safeguard your personal information online. Feel free to comment and share.