In 2017, 6.64% of consumers became victims of identity fraud or about one in 15 people. That equals 16.7 million people who became victims two years ago. This is an increase of more than 1 million people since 2016. While people are becoming more aware of this crime, it is better to prevent it from happening in the first place. There are several things that you can do to avoid being victimized by identity theft. We have identified five specific things that will prevent identity theft.
First, make sure you use reliable identification, password, and personal identification numbers or PINS. Make sure that the information that you use isn’t something that someone can easily guess. There are specific passwords and PINS that you should avoid, like your name, address, and date of birth. You should try to disguise any password to make it harder for an identity thief to guess. To reduce your chances of being victimized, make sure any password you use includes both lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and other characters such as hyphens or asterisk.
Next, after you’ve developed a complicated password, make sure that you keep this information in a safe place. It has never wise to store passwords or sensitive information unencrypted on your computer. Often people use physical cheat sheets for all of their passwords. If you do this, make sure to keep this information in a secure place. Understand, if you include your bank account and other pertinent information on your cheat sheet at thief will have his hands on a gold mine if your data is stolen. Finally, avoid using auto-fills on your computer or cell phone to complete your password. If someone gains access to your computer or phone, they’ll have all the information they need to steal your identity.
Third, use two-factor authentication. Many emails, services, and popular social media platforms allow users to log into their accounts using two-factor authentication or 2 FA. This offers an enhanced level of security that will help confirm your identity even after you’ve entered your User ID and Password. Often, this is your fingerprint or some other personal information.
Fourth, don’t forget to create different passwords for each device or service that you use. One of the best ways for identity thieves to steal your personal information everywhere is by guessing your password for an account and accessing all of your other accounts. This includes your bank, your social media accounts, and other accounts. This happens most often when you use only one password for all of your accounts.
Finally, protect your computer. Identity thieves use spyware and key loggers to obtain sensitive information. Therefore, it is essential that you use strong and regularly updated firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware programs to protect yourself from being victimized.
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