June 5, 2017
Throughout the day we put ourselves at risk for identity theft without even knowing it. I recently read an interesting article on msn.com explaining the things we do every day that puts our identity at risk. We will touch base on a few of the most common mistakes I hear about or do myself. We live in such a tech savvy world it is easy to make these common mistakes.
First, you don’t password protect your cellphone. Your smart phone can be a HUGE financial risk. If you are constantly checking your cellphone you have probably turned off your passcode for convenience. Just know when you do this if your phone is ever lost or stolen, an unlocked phone can give thieves access to your personal information.
Second, you don’t monitor your financial accounts. If you don’t use a credit or debit card on a day to day basis, you may think it’s pointless to check your account. However, it doesn’t take long for an identity thief to drain your account or rack up a bunch of charges. The sooner you detect the thief the better. A good way to prevent this is to get into a routine of regularly checking your accounts. Notify your bank as soon as possible if you suspect anything suspicious.
Third, you post your whereabouts on social media. Updating your friends and family of your whereabouts on social media might seem like a good way of including them in your experiences. However, it’s also a good way to let thieves know you are out of town and the items in your home are up for the taking.
Fourth, using public WiFi. Most people won’t think twice when they are at a hotel or coffee shop to use the public WiFi. We use it to check our online bank accounts or pay a bill we may have forgotten to pay before we left. Unsecure networks are a hacker’s playground. Some hacking tools are available for free online, according to the FTC. And these tools, even thieves with limited know how, can track your online activity and steal your information.
Fifth, you don’t secure your home WiFi. You are putting your personal information at risk if you don’t secure your network. An open network raises the threat of a thief accessing information on your device. A good way to protect yourself is to change the name of your wireless router as well as your router’s standard default password. When choosing a password make sure it’s a strong password. You want to do a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Sixth, you don’t shred financial offers. When you receive offers in the mail don’t just throw them in the trash. A dumpster diver could collect these offers and apply for them in your name. Then they could rack up thousands of dollars in charges.
Seventh, you click on email links. Granted this may seem harmless to click an email link from your bank. However identity thieves have designed fake websites and then send phishing emails asking you to update your personal information.
If there’s a problem with your account your bank will send you an email asking you to sign into your account to update your information.
Eighth, not reporting a missing driver’s license. If you ever misplace your driver’s license don’t dismiss the problem and think that it will eventually show up. If your license falls into the wrong hands this person could swap your photo with theirs and attempt to use your license as their own. If the person who steals your license happens to get a speeding ticket and doesn’t pay the ticket or appear in court you could face the consequences.
If you happen to misplace your license you can apply for a replacement card in person at your nearest DMV. You should also report a stolen driver’s license to the police.
Finally, you don’t lock your mailbox. You may think this is unnecessary to lock your mailbox since it’s illegal for someone to open your mail without permission. However people that are out to steal your identity aren’t exactly law-abiding citizens.
You can protect yourself by installing a lock on your mailbox. They make mailboxes with slits in the front so your mail carrier can slip it through. You can also pay to have a P.O. Box.
If you would like to read this full article please use the link below.