Identity theft remains a threat and a huge one at that, with 16.7 million victims reported in 2017. This is why more people are consulting risk mitigation companies to know how to protect themselves against this crime.
There are many kinds of identity theft or fraud, including credit card fraud, employment or tax fraud, phone or utility fraud, loan fraud, bank fraud, and benefits or government documents fraud. To prevent these crimes from doing too much damage to yourself, you should know the signs that someone is already trying to steal your identity.
How to spot it
- Your household bills no longer reach you
If you notice that you haven’t been receiving household bills in your mail, chances are someone has already stolen your identity. The reason for this is that the hacker must have changed your billing address and is using your personal details to procure items under your name.
- You’re billed for purchases you didn’t make
If you seem to be receiving invoices for purchases you don’t recall ever buying, someone has likely hacked into your personal information and is using your credit card to buy stuff. You should call your credit card company immediately and ask for the cancellation of your card.
- You have fraudulent transactions
Have you checked your financial records and found that there are too many transactions there that you don’t recognize One example of this situation is when you find out that your credit card is being used to pay for meals in restaurants that you don’t frequent.
- You’re turned down for a loan
If you apply for a loan and you get turned down even though your credit score is good, then chances are you’ve been hacked.
How to protect yourself
The best thing for you to do is to prevent yourself from falling victim to identity theft, and that’s doable.
- Use different passwords
Many people fall victim to identity theft because their devices (cellphones, laptops, computers, etc.) aren’t protected. You should always use passwords to encrypt your devices and prevent people from hacking into them.
Also, don’t use passwords that are weak, like the word “password,” your birthday, your child’s name, your pet’s name, or the place of your birth. On top of that, use symbols and numbers to strengthen your password.
If you have multiple devices, don’t use one password for all of them. Instead, come up with a password for each gadget. So, if in case a hacker infiltrates one device, they won’t be able to hack into your other gadgets.
- Avoid giving personal information
As much as possible, don’t divulge your personal information to any website. If you’re going to purchase an item online, be sure that the site is reputable and provides security measures for online shoppers before you divulge any personal info.
Identity theft is an existing threat, and many have fallen victim to it. As long as you know how to protect your devices and you don’t visit websites that seem shady, you can prevent identity theft from claiming you as its next victim.