Identity theft is now one of the most common forms of online crime. Cybercriminals are increasing stalking users, looking for opportunities to access the personal details of the users and use the details for their criminal activities. You need to be on the lookout for possible instances of identity theft at all times. Here is a simple guide on how you can prevent identity theft.
Methods to Prevent Identity Theft
1. Do not share personal information on social media
You probably have accounts on several social media platforms. By taking part in the discussions that your friends hold on such platforms, you increasingly share a lot of information about yourself. You may think that as long as you change the privacy settings of your social media accounts to limit the people who see your posts, you are completely anonymous. Interestingly, nothing can be further from the truth.
It is possible for you to mess up at one point by sharing personal and confidential information on your social media account. If you do this, the information you share may become accessible to scammers who may steal it and use your identity for criminal activities. Therefore, be very careful about posting anything confidential on your social media accounts.
2. Do not fall victim to phishing scams
Phishing scams are complicated programs run by cyber criminals to steal your personal details. Criminals running phishing scams keep on changing their techniques to avoid being detected and attract new potential victims. For example, they are now fond of sending spam emails which contain genuinely looking information.
For example, they may send mail to all users of a particular genuine website and ask the users to log into their purported accounts to confirm their personal details. Unsuspecting users may easily click on the link provided and end up getting to a fake site used to steal their details. Beware of emails that ask you to log into your account on any site.
3. Use very strong and unique passwords
You are supposed to use passwords to protect your online accounts. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to manage their password. On one hand, people do have very many accounts on different sites, and they may not remember all the passwords and log in details. On the other hand, people tend to use very simple passwords for multiple accounts, and this makes them vulnerable.
You can prevent identity theft by creating very strong and easy to remember passwords. Additionally, you can combine strong passwords with the use of password manager software. A good password manager service will help you only to remember the main password, which you can make as strong as possible for your own security.
4. Take care when shopping online
If you shop from well known and trusted sites, then you do not have a reason to get worried. However, if you shop online from little-known sites, then you need to be very careful. For example, make sure that the site you are buying from has a secure system.
All sites which have the secure online transaction system usually have an “s” as part of the “http” address. Also, to avoid the possibility of losing your identity to online thieves, make sure that you have only one card dedicated to online shopping. This way, you will reduce chances of losing your money as well as your details.
5. Protect yourself against spyware at all times
Spyware is special programs that cyber criminals use to monitor your activities and try to lure you to malicious and fake sites. You do not have to trust your judgment all the time when you can have peace of mind by simply installing spyware-blocking software on your system. When you block spyware, you will improve your overall online security considerably.
6. Ensure that all your software is up to date at all times
Having up to date software will go a long way in protecting you against instances of identity theft. All conventional anti-virus programs need updating on a regular basis. The good news is that your antivirus program automatically detects new security updates and installs them every time you go online.
However, identity thieves use highly advanced types of malware that your conventional anti-virus software may not detect. However, as long as all your programs are up to date, you can be sure that you are safe. Besides, you may use special software designed to protect your financial information to complement your traditional anti-virus program.
You can use any of these six simple ways to prevent identity theft. These methods are not only easy to follow but are also quite effective in helping you stay safe and carry out your online activities without falling prey to identity thieves.