May 15, 2017

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Globally, identity theft cases have exploded over recent years. Fraudsters are targeting individuals and businesses in record numbers, and that makes it important for everyone to know how to prevent identity theft.

Identity theft is the collection of someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. Identity fraud is the actual impersonation and misuse of debit or credit card data and other information. The best way to protect yourself is to make life more difficult for fraudsters.

Here are 10 tips for how to protect yourself from identity theft:

Tidy up. A Clean Desk Policy at work and home stipulates that confidential information is not left out in the open for anyone to steal. Keep documents safe and locked away when not in use, or not at your desk.

Carry less ID. Individuals should carry only the identification and cards that are needed. Thieves are most interested in passports and credit cards, but any ID helps create a profile.

Protect electronics. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and other cyber security on all devices. Keep software and systems up-to-date and patched.

Be smart on social media. Social networkers can have a higher risk of account takeover fraud because of all the personal information they share on digital platforms. Avoid posting confidential information, set security settings, and never accept unknown friend requests.

Keep track of financial accounts. Keep an eye on bank and other accounts for unauthorised changes, charges, or withdrawals. If possible, sign up for account alerts. A study showed that consumers who have little online presence take a lot longer (more than 40 days) to detect fraud and incur higher fraud amounts.

Protect PINs and passwords. When making transactions at cash machines and on portable devices, be sure others aren’t watching. Conduct all sensitive transactions on secure networks.

Don’t get phished. Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal information by phone, email or online. It could be a phishing scam – and linking or opening an attachment might download a virus.

Be a smart online shopper. E-commerce shoppers in the study have a high prevalence of fraud. Enable two-factor authentication, create strong passwords, and use a secure network.

Avoid bin raiders. All paper documents that are no longer needed should be securely shredded and then recycled by a trustworthy document destruction company.

Don’t recycle hard drives. And don’t stockpile old computers or mobile devices. They should also be securely destroyed by a document destruction company.

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To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your data and documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and data security survey.