Identity theft is a major threat that is receiving more media attention due to the large number of data breaches suffered by retailers. Target and Home Depot suffered data breaches that left millions of their customers at risk – but it’s not just those companies, as JPMorgan Chase also was targeted.
Identity theft affected more than 13 million U.S. residents in 2013 alone, and that number is only expected to grow in the future, according to security experts.
Unfortunately, it seems many consumers are blissfully unaware of the risk, even as banks continue to warn customers.
Want to keep your identity safer online? Here are seven basic tips to start with.
1. Don’t share your Social Security number or any personal information with unknown sources, including on the Internet
2. Look out for shoulder surfers when entering your PIN number at an ATM or at the checkout of a store. It sounds juvenile, but it’s a simple technique used by criminals to compromise victims.
3. Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse
4. Shred all physical mail relating to banks or that contain your personal information, including bank statements, credit card offers, returned checks, etc.
5. Always protect your PIN number, and don’t write it down and keep it in a wallet or purse
6. Be proactive by monitoring your checking and credit card accounts – this can be done online and on your smartphone or tablet
7. Careful clicking links in emails! If in doubt, go directly to your bank’s website, rather than clicking potential phishing links
The tips provided are only seven techniques to help change your thought process, so you’re more aware of protecting your identity. Here is some additional reading material:
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft information – LINK HERE
USA.gov – LINK HERE
Equifax – LINK HERE
(Image courtesy of Salem News)