With the developing technology today, identity theft has become a major issue. Identity theft is a crime involving use of another person’s identity including user names, passwords, banking information, credit card numbers and other personal information. Others can find this crime simply annoying but for some, it causes devastating problems such as damaged reputation, losing large amounts of money, closing of business and being rejected at some opportunities like loan applications and job prospects.
So, how can you protect yourself from data theft? Here are some ways to avoid losing your personal data.
- Do not over share your personal information in social networking sites and other websites especially those suspicious ones. It is better to check first if a website is secured so ask where they’re going to use your personal data. Research if what they’re saying stays true to the purpose of the website before sharing your personal data.
- Secure your mail. It is better to have multiple email accounts for different purposes: business, personal, leisure, etc. For password security, use unique passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. It is also recommended to change your password every once in a while and to never share your password to anyone.
- For online transactions, stick to one credit card if you have multiple ones. Choose the credit card that is best when doing online shopping. This is to secure your other credit cards from data theft.
- Monitor your credit card statements always. Check if all transactions are familiar to you before paying the bill. Report immediately when suspicious activity (even the smallest unknown transaction) is present. Thieves prefer to charge small amounts to prevent detection. So, better make sure to review all transactions religiously.
- Secure all personal documents. Keep them in a safe or destroy all private records. Save personal information on your own computer or laptop and always lock it up. To destroy printed copies of credit card statements, old documents, bank skips, etc, shred them before throwing it away. For disposing a mobile device or computer, remember to get rid of all saved personal information first by using wipe utility programs.
- Encrypt your data. Look for encryption software over the internet and make sure to use it to secure your online transactions. It is also important to always clear log-in data in your browser.
- Be wary of phishing scams. Phishing is a technique used by thieves by sending e-mails over the net and asking you to send and update your email account or any other personal information. Some even use existing companies or credit card issuers to get you to click on a link. Do not open this emails and immediately delete them.
- Always protect your wallet. People tend to put all their credit cards and other personal documents in their wallets. In order to prevent data theft, be sure to safeguard it.
- Never share personal information over public Wi-Fi. There are programs that can intercept public wireless signal and get all your personal information.
- Use security software devices such as anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and firewalls. Always update these protections to prevent intrusions that can steal all your computer files and saved personal information.