So your passport, driver’s license and TIN are safely tucked away from prying eyes. Good, but this doesn’t mean your identity can’t be stolen. Identity theft is rapidly becoming the most popular form of cyber crime. It’s spreading like wildfire and is very hard to avoid even if you think you are really careful. Luckily, it’s possible to minimize the risk and protect yourself from identity theft.
Keep your eyes open
No matter whether you are searching the Web for a nice recipe, reading your emails, or doing your shopping online, you need to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. It could be anything – a malicious banner ad, a fake email that looks like an email from your bank or a fraudulent online store. What you should always remember is that you need to be careful if you want to stay away from online fraud and identity theft. A good way to start is to never enter your credit card details on suspicious websites and never share them via email. Remember, if an online store looks weird and offers brand items at a very low price, it’s best to leave the store immediately. Most likely it’s a fraud and all the people running the store want is get hold of your credit card data.
Securely delete files
We all have lots of confidential files on our computers. Think of all the PDFs that contain your financial information. If they fall into the wrong hands, then you could become a victim of identity theft. But did you know that even if you delete an old PDF bank statement, cyber criminals can still get hold of it? That’s because your PC doesn’t really delete files when you hit the Delete key – it simply places the files in the Recycle Bin. And even if you empty the Bin, your files can still be recovered because they are not really gone. What Windows does is delete the file name without shredding the actual file. So, if you want to stay protected from identity theft, it’s best to use a special program called a file shredder to securely delete files. Look for a program that can shred files and wipe free disk space, like Easy File Shredder. There are quite a few around, so you’ll be able to find the tool you like. If you are looking for something very basic, a popular Windows cleanup utility CCleaner has a simple file shredder.
Don’t post your address on social networks
We are so used to sharing everything on sites like Facebook and Twitter, even our most personal stuff. But there are some things you should never post online for everyone to see. Your address is one of these things. If you really want to avoid having your identity stolen, you should stop posting your private details around and keep things like your address to yourself. After all, you wouldn’t print it on your T-shirt, so there is no reason to post it around.
Follow these simple tips and you will minimize the risk of becoming yet another victim of identity theft.