Have you ever gotten spam emails or text messages? According to the FBI, they’re very prevalent nowadays and are some of the most financially damaging online crimes. I received a spam text today, which came from an unknown number claiming that I sent someone money: “You sent $20 to James. You can view or dispute this transaction at: (scamwebsitename).com”
I know I didn’t send anyone money, but if I clicked on the link to find out, it could’ve put me and my information at risk. Hackers are getting more and more creative and believable every day, and it’s easy to fall victim to their scams. With data breaches, fraud, and cyber-crime at an all-time high, we have to take extra precautions to get ahead of theft.
We’re all susceptible to digital and financial identity theft daily. See our tips for how you can stay protected and avoid financial and digital identity theft.
- Freeze Your Credit
With the number of major data breaches that have taken place in 2020, we would recommend that you freeze your credit. At this point, it is not only possible but probable that your information has been exposed. This way, you’re in control and don’t get hit with any surprises in the meantime! Freezing your credit report takes 15 minutes and can be unfrozen when needed.
2. Monitor Your Credit Reports
It’s important to stay familiar with what’s in your credit report to spot symptoms of identity theft. I often forget to check my credit reports, which is why I recommend an identity and credit monitoring system, which lets you know when someone tries to open credit in your name.
3. Read Your Financial And Medical Statements
Scammers could be using your healthcare information to commit medical identity theft and run up bills in your name. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t have time to keep track of everything–that’s where Identity Guard comes in. Their financial account monitoring feature will keep you safe from fraud.
4. Only Provide Your SSN When Necessary
It’s easy for social security numbers to end up in the wrong hands. Doctor’s offices and schools often attempt to collect this information but always ask if it’s necessary to provide it. With the prevalence of theft these days, SSNs can end up on the dark web and black market websites–be extra protected with Identity Guard’s dark web monitoring.
5. Safeguard Your Mailbox
With plenty of personal information in your mailbox, it’s a goldmine for an identity thief. If possible, have your mail delivered to a Post Office box or install a USPS-approved locked mailbox. To ensure ultimate safety, try Identity Guard’s USPS Address Change Monitoring, which lets you know if an unauthorized individual attempts to reroute your mail to another address.
6. Go Paperless When Possible
Reduce your risk of identity theft by going paperless! This eliminates the possibility of stealing important information from your mailbox. Most banks, credit lenders, and even doctor’s offices have options for you to receive most, if not all, of your communications digitally.
7. Store or Shed Your Documents
Bills tend to contain sensitive personal information that an identity thief could use. Any paper billing documents that you receive should be shredded or stored securely. If you miss shredding a document, don’t worry–Identity Guard can alert you if someone tries to open accounts using your personal information.
8. Password Protect Your Phone
If your phone falls into the wrong hands, someone may be able to steal your identity, access your social media accounts, and hack your email. Be sure to password protect all of your phones and tablets. However, if you’re walking unprotected, your safest bet is to get secured with Identity Guard. The cost is minimal, and the return is life-changing, quite literally.
9. Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
It’s essential to update your phone and computer software as often as possible–hackers exploit security flaws in phone and computer operating systems to steal consumer data. If your data and personal information do get exposed, sign up for Identity Guard so an expert can help you right away.
10. Tighten Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Most of us provide our personal information – name, birthday, job, hometown – on our social media profiles without a second thought. But if someone wants to collect information about you, identity theft on social media will be their first stop. Be careful of what you share and make public on your social media profiles.
11. Use Strong Passwords
Using weak or recycled passwords and relying on two-factor authentication to keep your accounts protected won’t cut it anymore. Where you can, update your passwords to consist of a random combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
12. Be Discerning of Suspicious Emails
According to the FBI, criminals send emails that appear to come from a known source, making a legitimate request. Many people have fallen victim, and in each case, thousands of dollars were sent to criminals. Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email asking you to update or verify account information, and check the sender’s email. If you ever find yourself clicking on a link (which can happen with the believability of scams lately), make sure you have protection. Identity Guard will scan, alert, and protect you in case your information is compromised.
13. Use A Safe Browsing Tool When You’re Online
Savvy thieves on suspicious websites can access what you do on your device, including posting to social media, buying something using your credit card, or logging in to your banking app. Not sure how to discern unsafe sites? Identity Guard’s Safe Browsing tool warns you if you are about to enter a suspicious site that might steal your valuable information.
The solution is simple–protect your future and get comprehensive identity theft protection with Identity Guard.
Be one step ahead with the most powerful protection. Don’t wait until it’s too late–protect your identity today!