Did you know that over 41 million Americans have had their identity stolen?
Identity theft is a serious crime in which someone accesses your information without your permission, usually with intentions of financial benefits.
Once your identity has been stolen, your bank account can be drained, loans can be taken out in your name, your tax return can be filed and delivered to someone else and the identity thief can even give your name if they are arrested.
While identity theft is dangerous and daunting, these five tips will help you protect your identity online.
1. Implement Two-Factor Authorization
If a hacker obtains your username and password, two-factor authorization can prevent them from accessing your account. This works by linking your account with your personal phone number.
Every time you go to log in to a website, the website will send a unique code to your phone. Once you receive the code and enter it in, only then will you gain access to your account.
Without your phone on hand, it is nearly impossible for a hacker to gain access to your account.
2. Properly Manage Usernames And Passwords
You should view your passwords and usernames as the first line of defense against identity theft. Therefore, you want to create the strongest passwords that you can and make sure to maintain them properly.
Avoid passwords that relate to your hometown, birthdate, sports teams, pet names, children names and anything else you deem personal. Instead, strong passwords should be randomly generated to ensure the highest level of safety. It is also important to avoid reusing passwords between sites.
3. Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi can be rather convenient. But it is important to realize that public Wi-Fi is not a secure network. This provides hackers with leverage to steal your information and the ability to perform a malicious attack.
When you are connected to public Wi-Fi, make sure that you are not accessing sites that have personal information such as your bank account or social media accounts.
4. Eliminate Important Information From Your Social Media Accounts
If you have personally identifiable information (PII) that you wouldn’t want an identity theft to have, simply refrain from putting it on your social media accounts. This information can include your phone number, email address, children’s age, school and home address.
All of this information can make it easier for a hacker to gain more knowledge on you, which makes you more susceptible to have your identity stolen. You can also update your privacy settings to ensure that only your friends and family have access to your social media profiles.
5. Look Out For “Phishing” Emails
Phishing is an online scam that comes in the form of emails where hackers pretend to be legitimate companies and request your sensitive information. It is imperative that you never send your account information to a company through an email.
You might see phishing emails a lot with hackers who pretend to be a bank institution. However, a real bank would never ask you for your username and password through an email. If you are wary of your information being compromised, you can always request a police check.
Protect Your Identity Online
In order to protect your identity online, it is important that you take a multifaceted approach. This means that you should implement all of these tips and make sure to always be cautious of this crime.
For more tips and tricks that are similar to these, take a look at our technology blog for expert advice.