How to protect yourself from identity theft

Protect yourself from identity theft

Identity theft, what does that really mean in a world where everything is connected? We live in a world where many people post on Facebook, upload photos to Instagram, and tweet every detail of their lives, never realizing that tech giants make billions from collecting and selling that information.

So, is it possible to keep my privacy? privacy is a choice: you have the power to choose who can contact or observe you. Someone can collect, use and share your personal information. If you post personal photos or your innermost thoughts online, that’s your choice.

Therefore, you must be careful with whom you share that personal information, whether with other people, advertisers or organizations. Keeping your privacy safe is one way to protect yourself, your family, and your future from identity theft and fraud that can threaten your financial, emotional, and even physical well-being.

In this short tutorial, we’ll explore why privacy matters now more than ever, and how to know when you’re at risk of identity theft. We’ll explain how you can protect your privacy online and how to prepare when your privacy is breached.

Does privacy exist in the digital age?

Yes, privacy is possible. It just takes some knowledge and effort in this digital world. With the knowledge that we offer you at the Market Times and a little preparation, you will be able to protect your personal information and share data with confidence, without fear of identity theft.

“In this connected world, privacy is more important than ever because other people can use your personal information in ways that were not possible before”

Before the digital age, advertisers reached customers by advertising in newspapers or magazines or by buying commercial space on television or radio. It was easy to skip the commercials or grab a cup of coffee during a commercial break. 

We are now bombarded with targeted advertisements while browsing the internet, streaming content or playing online games because companies track our behavior and collect our personal information. 

Ads can be carefully tailored to attract us, and some of those personalized ads are actually scams that aim to trick us out of money or personal information.

Cybercriminals act under identity theft

Computer criminals take advantage of personal information to manipulate their victims. A single photo can expose your personal information, because of the Exif data it contains. In this way, vacation photos can provide enough information to swindle grandparents out of their savings. 

Security flaws in digital assistants or other connected devices can help criminals break into a home or predators get closer to children.

In social terms, privacy is a matter of personal preference. You can be an introvert or an extrovert, a natural couch-dwelling hermit, or an outgoing party animal. But in today’s world, data privacy is not just a personal preference. It is a matter of personal security.

What are the different types of identity theft?

When your personal information is exposed – through data breaches, spyware on a device, phishing attacks, loss of a phone, accidental sharing of information online – you risk everything from annoying fraud with credit cards to identity theft that can alter your life. 

Here are some of the most common types of identity theft and fraud:

financial identity theft 

It’s the most common form of identity theft and can be much more troublesome than simply replacing a credit card. In this type of theft, bank account numbers, credit cards, or personally identifiable information can be used to delete your accounts, obtain loans, or obtain new credit cards. 

And it is you, who is financially responsible for purchases, loans, rentals or other transactions made on your behalf. Unpaid bills could damage your credit rating, making it impossible for you to get a loan for a home, a car, or to pay for college.

medical impersonation 

It happens when criminals steal and sell your personal health information or make fraudulent claims against your health policy. 

If your medical identity is stolen, you may be charged for medical services received by someone posing as you. You may be denied medical services if those bills exceed the limits of your medical coverage. 

Another person’s information could even end up in your medical record, putting you at risk of misdiagnosis or life-threatening abuse.

Labor and financial fraud

It occurs when imposters use your personal information to get a job, pass a background check they might not otherwise pass, or gain inside access to a company’s assets in order to commit a crime.

Identity thieves can use driver’s licenses, like Social Security numbers, in many ways. With this information, they can prove their identity for everything from boarding a plane to cashing a check or changing their mailing address. 

Thieves who commit financial and other identity fraud often change their mailing addresses to hide their activity from their victims.

Identity theft for criminal use 

You can end up in court or in jail! Sometimes criminals use stolen identities to cover up their illicit activities. 

When criminals pose as you and get in trouble with the law, that goes on your record and clearing your name can be difficult when all the evidence points to your identity. 

You could also be turned down for a job if a background check or online search turned up bad debts or crimes committed in your name.

How do you know if your privacy is at risk?

Statistically, it is almost certain that we have all had our personal information exposed several times. No matter how careful you are, you cannot prevent data breaches. 

Hackers are always looking for ways to steal information, so you can’t guarantee the safety of the companies you do business with or the apps or devices you use, from your laptop and phone to the smart security camera in your home. . 

And you can’t be sure to who companies are selling your information. Therefore, assume that your privacy is always at risk.

Signs of identity theft

Since your privacy is constantly at risk by simply browsing the web, using social media, and shopping online, how can you quickly find out if someone is misusing your personal information? 

There are several ways to detect the signs so that you can act in time and defend your identity as soon as possible. Check the following points:

  • Read the financial statements carefully, paying attention to transactions or medical treatments that you have not performed.
  • Check your credit score, paying attention to sudden changes and loan or credit applications that you did not make.
  • Buy an identity protection plan that monitors public records and the dark web (where criminals buy stolen personal information) and warns you when there are signs your identity is being misused.

Eternal surveillance is the price of privacy, but it is worth the effort. By detecting identity theft or fraud early, you can greatly limit the potential damage and make it easier to restore your identity to a pre-theft condition.

How to protect yourself against identity theft and other privacy risks

While you can’t prevent data breaches, there are many things you can do to protect your privacy and identity from misuse, whether by cybercriminals or by companies that collect personal information. 

Key steps to follow for the security of personal information:

Device security. Make sure all devices have a screen lock password, turn on encryption, and set up a device finder and remote wipe feature to remove personal information so that if it’s lost or stolen, it can’t be accessed by a thief.

The security of the network. Home networks can be hacked, so protect your routers to prevent intruders from eavesdropping or stealing information through your home networks and connected devices. And avoid accessing accounts or shopping online over public Wi-Fi networks. If you have to transact when you’re on the go, use your mobile phone as a hotspot.

Account security. It uses strong passwords plus two-factor authentication to protect your financial and other accounts. Consider using a password manager to help you keep track of those long passwords.

Personal security. Never underestimate the risks of eavesdropping. You need to be aware of the people around you when working online at a coffee shop or airport, giving out a credit card number over the phone or entering your PIN at an ATM. 

Privacy controls. Use privacy controls in browsers and social networks to restrict who can see your information and what can be shared. If you have kids who use social media, use parental controls to protect them too. 

Be careful when signing up for an account. Please review the privacy notice when signing up for a new social media or software application account. Privacy policies are often set to share information by default. In this case, you can restrict sharing through a written notice or an online request.