As I way to end the Identity Theft series of blog posts, I would like to share some important tips to follow. If you haven’t already, catch up on other relevant topics such as:
Your best protection against identity theft
I have listed 8 tips in preventing identity theft below. Here they are:
First, you have to use strong passwords.
- Your password should be a series of texts, numbers, and special characters. Passwords should not be a short word. Instead, think of a phrase or a sentence that consists of alphanumeric characters.
Use the two-factor authentication feature.
- Most online accounts now offer a two-factor authentication, which means you don’t just need your username and password. You also need to provide a code sent to your email and/or mobile number.
- Websites — like Steam, PayPal, Gmail and many more — follow a multi-factor authentication for logins and transactions
Never share your login details.
- This is especially true for conversations you did NOT personally initiate. Stop right there and do not engage with emails asking for your personal information. If you received a call regarding your account, hang up and call organizations involved. It could be a voice phishing or vishing modus!
Tear documents or even shred them before disposing.
- Often times, people just throw unopened mail straight to the garbage bin. Personally, I am guilty of this, but remember, it’s important to shred mails and receipts containing your personal information. Cybercriminals don’t just magically get into your computer and steal your details. Instead, they rummage through your trash bins.
Choose paperless billing if available.
- To avoid your receiving a bunch of mail, opt out from the standard snail mail and choose the digital way. This way, all your billing statements will be sent directly to your email.
Create a personal email for extremely important accounts.
- Speaking of email, assign an email exclusively for online accounts. Don’t use this email for email subscriptions and social media accounts. This should be used solely for accounts that deals with money and important transactions.
Leave important cards behind.
- Store your Social Security card, medical insurance card, and credit cards in a secure place. Leave these things at home when you only plan to take a jog around the neighborhood or buy something at the nearby convenience store. Only carry these cards when you really need them.
Transact only to sites with an HTTPS version.
- The ‘s’ in https means secure. So, before you transact or transfer funds, be sure that the URL of the website indicates a secure connection.
It pays to keep tabs on your financial statements every single time. Check them from time to time, and look for transactions you did not make. If you have been a victim of identity theft, report to the authorities. You can go to the Federal Trade Commission’s IdentityTheft.gov or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
For more tips on keep your online accounts safe, please refer to my post on The Proper Password Etiquette.