Protect Yourself From Identity Theft In Seven Simple Steps

You might find it pretty shocking to hear that around nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year. That is a pretty large number of people, so could you be next? A lot of the time there are things that we could be doing to avoid this. It is not right for someone wandering around pretending to be you; not right at all. So in order to make more of a conscious effort to protect your identity, here are some steps that you can take.

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  • Protect Personal Information
    • In the US, a social security number is what you need to avoid others knowing. Don’t keep it in your wallet or share it with other people. The same goes for things like passports and banking details. Keep them somewhere secure, rather than having them accessible to others. Look to get ID documents that will have your biometrics on, like the Indian e-Aadhar card, for example. Those kinds of ID are much harder to defraud.
  • Change Your Passwords
    • Even if you live alone and don’t share your computer, you should be locking out of sites and programs and changing your passwords regularly. Choose passwords that are more safe, such as random words, rather than meaningful ones like your mother’s maiden name.
  • Clear Your Wallet
    • If you have cards or bank accounts that you simply do not use anymore, then cut up the cards into small pieces and cancel the accounts. Doing this often will help to protect you from identity fraud.
  • Check Bills and Statements Closely
    • Although it can feel like a nuisance to keep receipts and bills, it is so important to check on. If you check your bills and bank statements regularly, and match them to your spending, you can easily identify if people have used your card or found the details online. So check them closely and report any suspicious activity.
  • Use Computer Protection
    • There are many hackers that want to easily steal your information online. And if you don’t have any virus or malware protection software in place, then it can make it really easy for people to steal from you or take your online data. So get the software and regularly check it. It also pays to only use secure sites that have https in the address bar when buying things, rather than just http.
  • Get a Shredder
    • If you get a letter through the mail that isn’t any use or something you don’t need; don’t just throw it in the bin. Shred it. Even from a letter, you don’t need, it will have your name and address clearly printed on it. So shred any documents that you don’t need. Bank statements, payslips, or even insurance letters. If you no longer need them, make sure that you shred them.
  • Use a Free Credit Report Checker
    • Taking advantage of a free credit report is a good way to spot anything untoward. If someone has tried to apply for a credit card in your name, then it would show up on there. So check this regularly and report anything that wasn’t done by you.

Should I Teach My Kids About Identity Theft?

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We’re hearing more and more about identity theft these days. But it’s rare that we consider our children when thinking about the subject. But, whether you have a child who is using the Internet or not, it is still something you should approach with all your family. In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at why it is so important. We’ll also suggest a few ways you can teach them about how to keep their personal information safe.

Who steals a child’s identity?

It doesn’t compute, does it? Surely no one – even a criminal – would take a child’s identity for nefarious means? Sadly, it’s far from the case. There are several reasons why someone might want to get hold of your kid’s identity – and it could be a goldmine for them. With a social security number, they can apply for a passport or another type of ID card. They could set up a bank account, or even apply for a credit card. And worst of all, they can use a child’s ID to snoop on them, which could put your kids at risk.

Social networks and devices

Don’t forget that more kids than ever are now using social networks, emails, and own phones. It doesn’t take much to find out a lot about your child if someone got their hands on a phone. They could have access to sensitive pictures or messages, and use that information to blackmail your child. They could use your child’s identity to befriend another kid, and encourage them to do something dangerous. And, of course, there is a lot of information you can glean from the data left in photos posted on social networks. So, don’t underestimate the importance of talking about identity theft with your children. There are many ways it can affect them – and you. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider when exploring identity theft with your sons and daughters.

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Understanding the problem

Of course, before you start teaching your child about identity theft, you’ll need to arm yourself with the knowledge. The sad truth is that many adults aren’t even aware of the danger they can sometimes leave themselves exposed to. With this in mind, here’s some tips to prevent identity theft that you need to follow. Start by ensuring that you follow the basic rule of protection – having a robust and secure password, for instance. It’s important to set a good example for your kids if you want them to follow suit. You should also invest the time to find a robust and reliable cyber security program. You don’t have to spend a fortune – there are many fantastic products out there for free. Finally, never by anything from an unsecured online store. The risk of a hacker getting hold of your financial information is just too great.

Influencing behavior

Once you start following the guidelines above, it will be much easier to teach your kids to do the same. The idea is to make these simple rules a habit. When you sign up for a service, you always create a new password. Only pay for goods when you are on a secure WiFi channel. If you start quizzing your kids about the differences between a secure and insecure website, they will soon pick it up. Don’t forget; the chances are that your child will end up a lot safer online than you have ever been. It’s much easier to pick up these habits when you are young.

The dangers of the web

The final lesson is to explain the dangers of the Internet. Kids these days spend a long time online – they even use it in schools. The trouble is, it’s like second nature to them. They are unable to see the dangers of talking with strangers or sharing information online – unless you explain them. Speak to them about how easy it is for people to give up valuable information to others while online. Use some examples – you might try sharing a picture on your account and seeing how far it can travel. Try to avoid frightening your child, however. You don’t want to teach your child that the world is a scarier place than it is. It is vital to keep things positive.

As you can see, it is imperative that you teach your children about the dangers of identity theft. By giving them knowledge at an early stage, their behavior will become habitual. Your kids will be careful, and understand when – and where – there are potential risks.