During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty. Many people wondered how long restrictions would be upheld, if vaccines would be effective, and when society would return to normal.
But while dealing with the effects of the pandemic, there was another problem that continued to rise—identity theft. Although it’s always been an issue, the uptick in government benefits brought more scams from cybercriminals looking to steal sensitive information.
Having your identity stolen can have lasting effects on your life. However, with these five steps, you’ll be able to protect your assets and prevent identity theft. Check them about below.
1. Use A Protective Stamp
Between the bank statements, tax information, and shipping labels, you’ve probably spent countless hours using a shredder to eliminate your sensitive data. Depending on your outlook, it can be good or bad, but it takes up a lot of time (and makes a mess).
However, you can use a protective stamp roller from ID Police to eliminate the hassle. It has a unique pattern that conceals your data from thieves. To use it, all you have to do is slide the stamp over the information you want to be covered.
Once the stamp is applied, no one will be able to steal your identity. So you won’t need to carve hours out of your day to shred sensitive documents anymore. Read ID Police reviews to find out more about this product.
2. Monitor Your Credit
As you know, having good credit is essential for significant purchases in your life, such as a house or car. This is why monitoring your credit report is important. But how can you do so? You can sign up for free alerts from credit bureaus.
Each week you’ll get a copy of your credit score and history, outlining all transactions from your accounts. Furthermore, you’ll be notified if there is suspicious activity on your account or if your data has been breached. That way, you can quickly deal with the issue and continue to protect your identity.
Also, enrolling in one of these services does not affect your credit score since it’s not a hard inquiry. So you won’t need to worry about lasting consequences from the weekly reports.
3. Create Strong Passwords (And Never Share Them)
Never create a password that’s easy enough for someone else to guess. An individual could steal your identity if they had access to your personal information. Try to avoid passwords that use:
- Your first or last name
- Birth dates
- Common phrases like “dog” or “chocolate”
Instead, here are a few ways to create stronger passwords to combat identity theft:
- Use a combination of letters and numbers that you can easily remember
- If you’re able to, add in special characters like an asterisk or exclamation point
- Include lower and upper case letters
Avoid using similar passwords for multiple accounts because hackers expect that. Also, you should never share your passwords with anyone. Passwords are meant to protect you; if anyone else knows them, that protection is gone, and your identity may be in trouble.
4. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Due to the rise of cyber threats, many sites now use two-factor authentication. It’s an extra security measure to confirm your identity after you log in. You’ll usually get a text message with a code you need to enter before continuing.
It’s helpful against identity fraud because even if a hacker had your username and password, they still couldn’t access your account. However, once you’re done with any service, ensure that you completely log out—just closing the browser may leave your account open and information at risk.
5. Avoid Phishing Scams
You’ve likely come across a phishing scam recently and had no idea. They can be troubling because they come in the form of text messages or emails from institutions asking you to verify information such as:
- Your bank account number
- Credit card number
They’ll also come with directions to click on a link. If you see anything like this, it’s a red flag. Institutions that house sensitive information will not ask you to provide anything over text message or email. While they may look official, some common signs that indicate it’s a scam include:
- Spelling mistakes
- Grammatical errors
- Awkward greetings
- Suspicious looking URLs
- Threatening phrases
When in doubt, screenshot and send it to your institution to ensure it didn’t come from them. If they confirm it’s a scam, flag and block the sender to avoid dealing with this issue in the future.
Here’s How You Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft is a problematic issue that can damage your finances, credit score, and overall livelihood. That’s why it’s essential to protect yourself at all times. With the tips above, you’ll be able to keep your information safe and cybercriminals at bay.