How to Prevent Identity Theft

by Jonathan Maines 08/11/2019

Globally, identity theft has been on the rise in recent times, and it seems it is not slowing down. Succinctly, identity theft means using someone else personal information without their consent, primarily for financial gain. According to Javelin Strategy, the number of identity theft victims in the US is on the rise yearly, and its victims rose to 16.7 million in 2017. To be on the safe side, make sure you always take the following steps:

1. Strengthen your password 

If you are the type that uses common terms like "password," "freedom," "letmein" or "1234abcd", you are putting yourself in danger because hackers can quickly get access into accounts just by typing common passwords. Also, your pets’ name, date of birth and mother's maiden name are not hard to find. You can pump up the strength of your password by using a random combination of special characters, numbers, and letters different for each account.

2. Be cautious when shopping online.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry can host a website for as cheap as $30. With that in mind, criminals can create a fake online shop with meager prices for in-demand products to lure you to submit your credit card information and personal detail. Be wary of any online retail shop you have not heard of before.

3. Secure your smartphone

For many people, their smartphone houses all their personal information, and you can quickly get access to their social media accounts, banking and credit account, and email. Ensure your phone home screen is password protected, and the password must be strong.

4. Protect your social security number

Make sure you protect your social security number as best as you can since it is the key to all your data. Whenever a corporation or person asks for your SSN (social security number), always ask why it is needed and how protected it'll be. Do not carry your card along with you.

5. Check your credit reports often

Everybody is entitled to one free credit report yearly from each of the three primary credit reporting bureaus. Make it a habit of requesting a credit report every four months so you can check for incorrect or suspicious information throughout the year.

6. Stay alert 

 No matter how careful you may be, you could become a victim. Whenever you go to a public place like a restaurant, do not place your card on a table. A greedy restaurant employee could use his or her phone camera to take a photo of your credit card without you being aware. Inculcate the habit of checking your card regularly because the quicker you detect a problem, the faster you can solve it. 

For more tips on how to prevent identity theft, talk to your finance officer.

About the Author
Author

Jonathan Maines

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, Jon moved to Naples, Florida in 1989 where he took a job with the Naples Police Department. In 1991 Jon married his wife Kathy, also from Wisconsin, and had two children. During the next 19 years Jon continued to work for the Naples Police Department ultimately becoming a Lieutenant. During this time he and Kathy also became successful real estate investors. In June 2010 Jon retired from the Naples Police Department to focus his energies into being a successful Real Estate Professional. Jon believes that his faith, honesty, integrity, knowledge and hard work have been the key principals to his success in the Real Estate Business. If you are looking for an agent you can count on and trust to give you an honest perspective when looking to buy or sell your home, Jon is here to serve you. Call today for a free market analysis!