Identity theft is one of the most common and frustrating scams to fall victim to. Often, people who have their identities stolen have no idea they’ve been targeted by a crime until the damage is already done.
Once someone’s identity has been stolen, it can affect them in many ways. Their credit is irreparably damaged, they’re on the hook for debts they never racked up, and they’re pressured by credit card companies for mistakes they never made.
If you’re looking for ways to shore yourself up against possible identity thieves, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going over some tips to help you lock your identity down so no scammers can pretend to be you and ruin your good name.
Avoid giving any companies or websites your personal information unless you absolutely have to. Even companies that don’t mean you harm can be targeted in hacking attempts that leak customer information. For example, major retailers like Target and Walmart have fallen victim to such hacking attacks in the past, revealing customers’ birthdates, addresses, and credit card numbers to hackers all over the world.
Rather than input your personal information into these companies’ websites, opt to use websites that don’t require you to put so much personal info in to make purchases. That way, even if the company does get hacked, you’re not at risk of having your information leaked.
Gather your mail from the mailbox every day. If you’re going to be out of town, have a friend or neighbor collect your mail for you. If you leave mail in your mailbox, would-be identity thieves can steal it and glean a lot of information about you. Scammers love to find billing statements, as these documents contain plentiful valuable information about their potential victims.
If you’ve noticed that you’re not getting billing statements or you’re missing some vital mail, you might be falling victim to a scammer. Keep an eye out for this suspicious activity.
Use an advanced firewall system when you’re browsing the internet, and use a virtual private network to disguise your IP address. The last thing you want is hackers following your digital trail back to your home address. Instead, use a VPN to appear somewhere else in the world.
Never click on suspicious links in your email inbox or in your text messages. These links often take you to malicious websites that will attempt to steal your information. Use your best judgment online, and disregard any messages from unknown senders.