In the middle of the night, a representative from your bank calls. They inform you that your account dipped below your alert setting. Your spending seems to be more erratic than usual, and you seem to be in a different location than the city where you reside. You agree to freeze your bank account immediately.
The following day, you receive an email notification indicating someone has applied for a credit card using your name. It’s now clear that someone has just hacked your bank account; they’ve stolen your identity.
How did this happen? Chances are likely that you overlooked a critical part of your digital security.
Identity theft can threaten your financial stability and your credit score for a long period of time, if not permanently. The best way to mitigate identity theft is to safeguard your personal information and digital security. We’ve created a list of ways you can protect yourself from identity theft. Read on to learn more.
1. Keep Your Social Security Number Hidden At All Times.
To an identity thief, your social security number is worth more than gold. It opens up opportunities to apply for loans and credit cards because it’s considered a bona fide way to verify your identity.
Avoid giving out your social security number unless it’s absolutely necessary. When you have to enter it on a website, make sure the site you’re on has an SSL certificate. Rarely will bank representatives and credit lenders ask for you to supply your social security number over the phone. They will generally ask you to verify the last four digits. If you do need to give your social security number over the phone, do so in a private place without any potential eavesdroppers.
2. Collect Your Bills in a Timely Fashion, and Monitor Your Financial Statements.
It’s easy to let bills pile up on the kitchen counter. It’s similarly easy to look over them and throw them into the recycling. Unfortunately, paper bills and other financial statements are easy prey for dumpster-diving identity thieves. After they collect your bills and financial statements, they can use them to get your personal information.
To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you shred all of your bills and financial statements before you recycle them.
3. Build Up Your Digital Security.
Many people have the same password, or variations of the same password for all of their accounts. This common tactic puts them at risk. Once cyber thieves hack one of your passwords, they quickly can enter all of your accounts.
Instead of using the same or similar passwords for your accounts, try to create complex passwords. If you have trouble remembering them, download a password manager that can keep track of them for you. Lastly, install virus-detection software and firewalls on all of your computers and mobile devices.
Protect yourself from identify theft with identity theft insurance from Freeway Insurance. We offer exceptional, cost-effective identity theft insurance solutions. To learn more, contact our team today at 1-800-777-5620.