One of the biggest threats to your personal finances and security is identity theft. Identity theft can happen to anyone and can have a big impact on your life. Being proactive in your approach to combating identity theft could help you to maintain your wealth, security and peace of mind.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when someone intentionally steals your personal information for their own advantage. Identity thieves only need a few details of an individual to target one online, over the phone, or even in person.
This is a serious crime as the thief can open bank accounts, take out loans and go on a shopping spree using a credit card in your name. Many victims aren’t aware until it’s too late and their credit score is adversely affected.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
You can greatly reduce the chances of being a victim with a few simple precautions. Be careful about the information that you share and who you share it with. Does an e-commerce store really need your birth date? Can you use a payment service such as PayPal to hide your credit card details?
Keep your computer and mobile device privacy and security settings on high. Always be cautious of people requesting your sensitive and financial information such as credit card numbers, your driver’s license, or your social security number. The less you share, the safer you will be.
Scams often come via email, through social media and telephone calls. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails that seem to be come from a reputable companies to trick you into revealing personal information. Before clicking on a link in an email, make sure that the site’s URL begins with “https” to verify the site’s security.
You should change your passwords regularly, and choose strong passwords that won’t be easily guessed. A secure password will generally have a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Update your browser, firewalls, and security software to stay up-to-date with the latest security issues.
Should You Use an Identity Protection Service?
Whether you are an individual or a business owner, we recommend using an identity protection service. Look for an identity theft monitoring service that will give you updates as soon as any potential breaches are flagged.
Often you will be able to choose from a range of theft protection plans. Premium options may include the scanning of dark web addresses and ID restoration in the case your details are ever stolen. This will give you peace of mind that you know how and where your private information is being used.
What Can You Do if Your Identity Has Been Compromised?
In the unfortunate event that your identity is ever compromised, the sooner you take action, the better it will be. Make sure you notify all of your financial institutions and report any suspicious activity to the police.
When you have a protection plan, it can also include a restoration service. This is similar to an insurance policy and can significantly improve your outcome, saving you both time and money.
The Final Wrap Up
Despite all of the perks that come with modern technology, cybercrime is a genuine concern for many. If you want to protect your finances, you need to be aware of the risks. If your identity is ever stolen it can be both financially and emotionally devastating. Being careful and well-prepared is key, and an identity theft protection service is just one piece of the puzzle.