Identity theft is one of the biggest threats posed to internet users and is one that millions of users fall prey to every year. This phenomenon occurs when someone’s personal information is compromised and falls in the hands of malicious threat actors and cybercriminals, who then proceed to masquerade as the victim to gain access to services, bank accounts and other precious data.
The value of personal data seems to be underestimated by the public when it comes to interacting with the internet. Nowadays, when cybercrime is at all time high, protecting your private information is almost next to impossible, and data breaches are slowly becoming a question of when, not if.
However, experts in cybersecurity know that with due diligence, you can prolong the inevitable to the point that it seems unlikely to ever even happen. By taking all the necessary precautions, without the need to be overly paranoid, you can mitigate risks to an absolute minimum. These precautions include daily safe practices, pre-emptive measures, fail-safe plans and trust management.
Top 6 Ways to Protect Your Data from Identity Theft
You can adhere to the following list of tips and measures you can take to barricade your data and prevent any possible compromise of personal information. These are not just restricted to online activity as they also apply to your physical activities as well.
1. Never Leave a Paper Trail
This might sound a bit unnecessary to some people, but it is actually very important. Whatever receipts you get from transactional payments, whether it’s from an ATM usage or a payment at a local gas station, make sure not to leave the receipts behind as they can be traced back to you as they contain important personal information.
2. Be Defensive When Asked for Personal Information
3. Never Lose Your Credit Cards
Always keep track of where your credit cards are, never leave them out of your possession and, whenever possible, pay with cash.
4. Destroy Private Records
Tear up, shred and dispose of any unnecessary documents or records in your possession that may contain important personal information, such in credit card statements.
5. Have Your Mailbox Secured
Empty your mailbox as soon as possible and keep it locked or get a P.O box. Never mail cheques and bill payments via mail as they can easily get confiscated by thieves.
6. Verify Your Interactions
Whenever you get contacted by anyone claiming to be an important service and are asked to provide your personal or financial information, do not provide them with anything. Instead investigate who they are, what company they represent, and why they called for the information. Once you’ve verified them, call back and, before giving them any data, confirm what you were told in the earlier call.