5 Common Ways Identity Theft Happens
Identity theft has become much more of a risk these days due to the huge amount of personal information that is shared online, whether wittingly or unwittingly. As a result, it’s important that you understand how to keep your information safe and how to identify certain scams. The following are five of the most common ways that your identity can be stolen:
1. Sharing Too Much Information on Social Media
Scammers comb through social media in search of people who provide way too much personal information that they can use to their advantage. This is especially true if you don’t have privacy settings on, thereby providing scammers with access to all kinds of personal details, such as where you’re living and your birth date. Smart scammers may even be able to impersonate you by answering simplified security questions using information gained from your social media profile (such as the name of your pet). Tighten your privacy settings so that your details are only visible to friends and be careful about what you post.
2. Not Updating Your Apps or Device Software
It might be inconvenient to update the software on your smartphone or computer whenever updates become available. However, there’s a reason software is constantly in need of updating. This is because the developer is strengthening its security features and fixing bugs on a regular basis. In many cases, they will have spotted vulnerabilities in their software that they are patching up. If you don’t update your software, these vulnerabilities will remain and can make it easier for thieves to hack.
3. Providing Information to a Scam Artist
Telemarketers and email scammers often trick people into providing information that they shouldn’t. Always be wary of anyone that calls you requesting personal information (such as your social security number) and don’t click on any links or download any attachments to emails that look suspicious to you.
4. Using an Internet Connection That’s Not Secure
Never use a public Internet connection in order to perform any tasks that may require you to input sensitive data. For example, if you go to a cafe, the last thing you should do is sign onto the free WiFi and then check your bank accounts. This is how passwords get stolen. You should also be very careful about the information you include in any emails that you send over an un-secure Internet connection.
5. Providing Sensitive Information to an Un-Secure Website
In addition to being careful when using public WiFi, you should also be careful about what websites to which you provide personal information. For example, if you’re looking to purchase items online using a credit card, make sure the site you’re buying from is legitimate and secure. You can tell if a website is secure when they have “HTTPS” in their URL. This means that any data transferred between you and the site will be encrypted. If it’s hacked and stolen, the information will be useless to thieves because it’s encrypted. If the site is not “HTTPS” and only has “HTTP” in the URL, then it’s not secure.
The last thing you want is for your identity to be stolen. This can result in all kinds of issues, from having online purchases made in your name to having your name used to commit fraud. Be aware of these five common ways that your identity can be stolen and be very careful when sharing your personal information, both online and offline. For more information on how to prevent identity theft or for information about our data destruction services, be sure to contact us at AccuShred today.