Identity Theft Protection for Beginners

In September 17, 2015

In 2015 alone there have been at least 450 data breaches that exposed over 100 million people to identity theft. Although many of these data breaches were digital, that isn’t the only way people find themselves a victim of identity theft. Pick-pocketing or dropping a wallet while running errands are just a few other ways of falling victim to identity theft. It is important to be proactive in protecting yourself against identity theft in everyday life and doing so isn’t very difficult if you follow these identity theft protection tips for beginners.

Identity Theft Protection for Beginners:

    • Create complex passwords and update them throughout the year. It isn’t very hard for a hacker to break into online banking accounts, social media accounts, or email accounts when your password is something along the lines of “password123”. Creating a strong password that you can remember doesn’t have to be difficult and is one of the most basic beginner identity theft protection practices. Remember to keep your password long, it is suggested to have a character length of 12 characters, include lower-case and upper-case letters, use numbers and symbols, and isn’t a common word. Mixing words or interrupting words with numbers or symbols can help make the password difficult to crack. A strong password may look like this – “S0dah!P0P?723”. This password uses upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
    • Always think twice before giving out your social security number, credit card number, or birthdate. Many people are scammed via threatening emails or phone calls from what appears to be a bank email or bill collector. A legitimate and trustworthy service will never call or email you asking for sensitive information without requiring you to log into your account or verify your identity with a preset password. Any emails or phone calls that require you to tell them your social security number, credit card number, etc first are probably a scam. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the call or email, reach out to your provider directly to confirm whether or not they are trying to get ahold of you.

 

  • Check your credit report. You can check your credit report for free and should do so at least once a year to ensure that there are is no suspicious activity.
  • Never leave ATM receipts behind after a purchase. This includes gas station purchases, bank withdraws, or general debit card purchases.
  • Purchase a shredder. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself against identity theft is by shredding personal mail. Mail contains our full names, different account numbers, and all other kinds of personal information. When you go through and throw away old papers, shred them first to make it harder for someone to take your personal information and run with it.
  • Check to see what kind of danger you have been put in through data breaches within the last few years. The New York Times has put together a quiz where users can see how at risk they are for having their personal data hacked. Try the quiz here.

 

Following these identity theft protection tips for beginners is not difficult, time consuming, or expensive. These simple tips can help keep you and your family protected from identity theft without much effort. You can learn more about personal vital records and keeping your information safe with VitalChek.

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