How to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft?

How to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft?

Becoming a victim of identity theft is never intentional. You don’t purposely lose your wallet or share your credit card details. But while you can’t control other’s actions toward you, you can certainly manage your own. Being extra cautious can reduce the risk of someone impersonating you and using your personal data for financial gain.

Research has shown that cybercrime victims faced $3.5 billion in losses due to fraud. Whether it’s making large purchases, wiping your bank accounts clean, this crime can result in significant problems for you. Here’s how you can prevent identity theft from occurring.

Protect Your Social Security Number

One of the easiest ways that identity thieves can get a hand on your personal information is through your SSN. Whether you’re opening a bank account, applying for a loan, or purchasing a home, your social security number is useful in several different services.

Since all your personal information is linked to it, safeguarding your SSN is one of the best things you can do. If you’re asked for it, don’t simply hand it over. Ask why it’s required and what measures will be taken to protect it.

Additionally, carrying your card with you can expose you to different risks. You should also ensure that any paperwork that contains your social security number is either securely kept away or shredded.

Know What Phishing or Spoofing is

Make it a habit to never give out your details via phone or email. Criminals make calls that appear as if they’re coming from a state entity or business to steal information. If you receive an email asking for your bank account, credit card, social security number, or other sensitive information, never respond to their messages.

Phishing emails may also include suspicious attachments or links that contain malware and might be sent from a public domain. It might also be written in poor English and exude a sense of urgency. In either case, you should never open an email that seems suspicious and asks for your credentials.

A woman working on her laptop

Create Strong Passwords with Authentication Steps

All your accounts should be protected with complex and original passwords that can’t be easily guessed. It might seem convenient to use the same password, but it can increase the risk of identity theft. While security questions like your primary school or your pet’s name might seem safe, they can be easily discovered.

Adding a two-step authentication system can ensure that you’re notified on different devices when your account is accessed. Hence, it will send a code on all the devices you’ve added, including your email and phone number. Lastly, be wary of what you share on social media as it can disclose information or clues about the answers to your security questions.

Looking for a credit lawyer in St. Louis? Attorney Matthew Cook is the founder of Cook Law, LLC, and licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois since 2010. He deals with identity theft, credit report inaccuracies, inaccurate background checks, bankruptcy credit errors, debt harassment, and more. Schedule a free consultation to discover how we can help!

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