No one wants their identity stolen, but we also all make a lot of mistakes when it comes to protecting our identity privacy. Learn how to better secure your personal information and avoid common scams and techniques used in identity theft in these five tips.
5 – Check Your Bank Statement Regularly
One major mistake many people make is not checking their bank statement. When cheques went the way of the dinosaur, so too did keeping a physical bank book. In fact, many millennials probably don’t even know what a bank book looks like. When we stopped needed to balance our checkbooks, we also stopped checking that balance regularly, which means unusual charges and withdrawals go unnoticed for much longer.
4 – Don’t Respond to Telemarketers
While it may feel rude, any conversation you have with a telemarketer could end up working against your when it comes to identity privacy. Especially when offering a useful service or product, people tend to have a blind trust that telemarketers are who they claim to be, making it an excellent social engineering tactic for thieves to con you into divulging personal details you might not otherwise.
3 – Stop Oversharing on Social Media
Every time you share your location, answer an online quiz, talk about your pets, or wish your parents happy birthday, you’re giving hackers clues to what your passwords and the answers to your security questions might be. We’re all used to sharing on Facebook and Twitter, but security experts warn that this over sharing of personal information is contributing to more instances of breached identity privacy every day.
2 – Using the Same Password for All Your Online Accounts
We’re all guilty of it, but you really should rethink your online password strategy. Recent guidelines say that long, complicated passwords aren’t actually secure as we once thought, so it’s time to change it up. Stop using the same password for all of your accounts and start coming up with simpler combinations of random words. This strategy takes longer for brute force tactics to crack and will make it easier for you to remember a variety of passwords.
1 – Shred Your Physical Junk Mail
It may seem unrelated, but the junk mail you get in your physical mailbox could also contribute to identity theft online. Any identifying information you throw away or recycle could be stolen once you’ve put it on the curb and used against you. Credit card applications and similar pieces of junk mail also often offer an online registration, making the transition from physical to digital identity theft easy for would-be thieves.
Following these tips won’t ensure your identity will never be stolen, but they can help you greatly reduce the chance. Another way to improve your identity privacy online and reduce the risk of your data being compromised is to stop using passwords altogether. Many companies are integrating biometric authentication into their apps and services, especially banks, and switching from password- to biometric-based security is a great way to improve overall privacy and eliminate a common way that hackers gain access to personal and corporate systems and accounts.