How To Prevent Identity Theft

 

Millions of people are victims of identity fraud every year and the situation is getting worse every year. A key factors for this is the rise in data breaches.

This checklist can help you safeguard yourself against identity theft:

8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT

1) Enroll Your Domains in Domain Privacy

"Domain privacy" is a bit of a misnomer -- it's not the domain that needs protection; it's that personal information of yours which is publicly available in the global "whois" database of domain names. Harvesting from "whois" information can help identity thieves to impersonate you.

2) Protect Yourself Against Spyware

Spyware is malware downloaded to your computer or website, without your knowledge or consent, that runs in the background and collects information about you. Make sure you have an anti-virus as well as anti-spyware protection on your computer. Basic anti-spyware is usually free, for example SpywareBlaster.

3) Use Caution When Entering Information Online

When providing personal or financial information online, be sure that you have a secure connection. The URL in the address bar should say "https" or "shttp." A closed padlock symbol also indicates a secure connection. To make your website secure this way, purchase an SSL certificate.

4) Create Strong Passwords

Generating strong passwords and keeping track of them all can be a hassle, but it's critical that to have strong passwords for every site you visit. There are tools to remember all your passwords like KeePass.

5) Use Discretion When Sharing Information

Be discreet when updating social media. Even if you limit the people who access your profile(s), the information is still published online and can be copied and pasted elsewhere. If anyone asks you for personal information, make sure they are who they claim to be and that there is a legitimate reason for the request.

6) Stop Unsolicited, "Pre-Approved" Credit Offers

Opt out of pre-screened credit/insurance offers to prevent potential thieves from intercepting and accepting the offers in your name. Opting out doesn't affect your eligibility for credit or insurance and it only takes 2 minutes to fill out the request at OptOutPrescreen.com.

You can limit the number of unsolicited emails (spam) you receive by adjusting your spam filter settings.

7) Shred Confidential Information

When disposing papers with identifying information, shred them. This includes unsolicited credit card offers.

8) Review Accounts Regularly

Monitor your accounts online frequently to discover potential issues.