An identity theft scheme is a scary situation to find yourself in. Not only is it a frightening occurrence, but it’s also a fairly common occurrence as well. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can protect yourself against scammers seeking out your personal information. That’s why we’ve curated this list of helpful tips. That way, you run less of a chance of falling victim to the crime of identity theft.
1. Never Carry Your Social Security Card In Your Pocket/Wallet
There are certain things that we need to have on us at all times, including a form of identification (such as a driver’s license or state ID). However, your social security card is something that is best left at home, safe and secure. This will help you avoid losing it somewhere out in the wild. Additionally, if someone pickpockets you then they won’t have access to your SS card. They still may have access to important information and that’s not good but at least your SS number is kept intact.
2. Utilize VPNs
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN is great for protecting your information for a few reasons. First off, it hides your IP address from those seeking such information. Plus, a VPN will keep your data safe if you are transferring it through public wifi. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to protect yourself against identity theft.
3. Keep A Watchful Eye On Your Bills & Bank Statements
Monitor this information consistently to avoid someone sneakily committing identity theft right under your nose. Keep a close eye on bank statements, credit card bills, anything that has a log of your purchases/financial information. Keep an eye out for any strange purchases that you did not sanction. If you notice any strange activity, report it immediately.
4. Make Sure To Use Complex Passwords Online
Don’t use the same password across multiple websites. It might make everything easier to remember but it also makes it easier for someone with nefarious intentions to gain access to all of your information. Not only that, your password for each site should be something unique and complicated.
5. Be Wary Of Phone/Email Scams
Email and phone scams have been prominent for over a decade. I probably sound like a broken record reiterating this but it still needs to be said–be very careful of who you give personal information to. Any emails from foreign princes asking for money should be seen as a major red flag. Likewise, avoid answering calls coming from strange phone numbers.
If someone contacts you and questions you about personal information, you should ignore them and contact the company directly. As in, if someone calls and claims to be from your credit card company, don’t be afraid to simply hang up on them. Then, immediately use the phone number listed on the back of your credit card to contact the credit card company directly and see if the caller is telling the truth or not.
6. Don’t Simply Throw Away Important Documents Or Old Credit/Debit Cards, Shred Them!
If you pay your credit card bill online, you probably still receive a physical copy of it in the mail. If so, you might be one of those folks who simply tosses the extra copy in the trash. However, you shouldn’t do this. You should use this same rule of thumb for old credit/debit cards and any document that features personal information of yours on it. By shredding it, you destroy the chance for somebody to obtain this information unbeknownst to you. Once it goes into the shredder, you won’t have to worry about it falling into the wrong hands.
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