Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

ID CARDHave you seen the movie “Identity Theft”? It showed how a simple phone call could turn your life into hell. Yes, what happened in the movie could happen to you. Well, minus the road trip part and the happy ending. Of course they also embellished how bad it could be, but to tell you the truth they are not far from reality. If you carelessly gave your data away you could face a lot of headaches and trouble, so to help you protect yourself from Identity theft, here are a few tips on how to avoid getting your identity stolen.

Let’s talk about how it happened in the movie first, so the movie’s protagonist received a phone call one day and was told that he was the victim of getting his credit details stolen. This is standard for most voice phishers, they pretend to be an agent of a financial institution like your bank, tell you about unauthorized charges made with your credit card or something similar, and get you to tell them all of your details.  The best way to handle this situation; is to immediately hang-up and call your credit card issuer, your bank for example, and ask if they tried to contact you regarding unauthorized charges, If they really were the ones calling you then you get to handle the situation, and if the caller was a phisher than you avoid a catastrophe.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi for banking transactions, there is a high probability that someone else is listening in the network. Since the network is not secured you should presume that anything you put in can easily be picked up by anyone who have the knowledge and ability to do so.

Be careful when shopping online or filling up forms online with your details and credit information, people can easily clone websites; creating an identical copy and tricking you to think that it is the real one. One way to know if the site you are visiting is the real one, look at the address bar and look for the little padlock and there should be a “https” not “http” written before the website address.

Avoid filling up credit-card forms from kiosks or retail card applications. It isn’t a good idea to give all your personal and financial information on a piece of paper to a complete stranger. If you would really like to apply for their card, ask if you could fill up an online form instead.

Don’t share too much on social media, while it is great to get in touch with a few friends from high school, those friends should know enough about you. Limit what you put in social media, often times the information a person have put up in social media is enough to get their identity stolen. You can easily find out the answer to people’s security question through simply looking through their profile; birthday, pets name, mother’s maiden name, and a lot of other unnecessary things people put online.

Keep yourself safe by being vigilant and cautious when your personal and financial details are involved.

Useful resources:

http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/personalfinance/creditdebt/identitytheft/protect.php

http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/credit/how-to-protect-yourself-from-identity-theft/

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft