How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
No doubt you are familiar with the fact that identity theft rates have increased dramatically throughout the 21st centuries…but the rates to avoiding this crime have also gone up with increases in safety technologies. Computers are now faster and more connected. We all have virus and software packages that automatically scan incoming messages, notices, or other content to ensure its safety to the system administrator are a part of everyday life. So how do we get to understand identity theft? And exactly how can we protect ourselves from it?
What is Identity Theft?
The term ‘identity theft’ was coined in 1964. It should not be confused with credit card fraud (but often is). Note: Credit card fraud is just one type of identity theft. You will hear people say “I’m covered by my credit cards.” Wrong. That one account with that one institution is covered. That is all that is covered; nothing else. Credit card fraud is probably the easiest to deal with.
It’s the other types of identity theft that cause the real problems:
An identity thief steals the identity; not just a credit card number. He poses as the soon-to-be victim, so as to obtain certain financial, personal, or other information, most often to the victim’s disadvantage. And it doesn’t have to be one person only; the crime could result in the fall of major businesses, or smaller groups of individuals. What happens is the thief poses as another person and does things with the information he was able to obtain that later come back and bite the victim.
Real life examples from recent identity theft victims:
Common Ways Your Identity is Stolen
Identity Theft Protection | What to Do
Online Identity Management Techniques
With the advent of social websites, the world has really shrunk. With a click of a button, we have all the information about a person’s history, likes and dislikes and educational qualifications. So which techniques will help us be in the good books of our respective employers?
‘First impression is the last impression’ – this adage has been told to you since you were a child. This adage is religiously being followed by hiring managers, companies and well, your friends too. Online identity is like you are living in a house only with glass doors. Your whole life activities are like an open book.
Having an online profile is certainly beneficial as it helps you to establish contacts with other people. For companies, it helps them connect with customers, suppliers and also helps them to know intricate details about competitors. Basically these social websites create a whole new world.
But with certain advantages, there are disadvantages associated with it. There is always a fear of hackers who can hack your profile and alter it in a negative way or worse, steal it. Even for companies, hackers pose a risk as they can easily get vital information about the company like trade secrets or financial information.
Following are the Identity Management Techniques
Protect My ID | Managing Your Future:
As personal branding can make or break your identity, it’s of vital importance to regularly monitor your profile and avoid embarrassments. Following are some techniques which can prove to be beneficial in managing the online profile:
Search Your Identity:
After you have created your profile, it’s important to find out about yourself with the help of various search engines. This will give you an idea about your reputation and will serve as a reminder in the event of negative publicity. According to a business magazine, around 70% of the recruiters search the applicant’s profile and 30% eliminate an applicant because of some inappropriate findings in the person’s profile. Many search engines provide you personalized services like alerting you if your name crops up in something inappropriate. Take control of your profile page by activating privacy settings on photos, friends list and messages. For a more professional approach, use professional websites which boost your image in front of recruiters.
Erase the Negative Content:
As ‘word of mouth’ is important in the advertising world, similarly written words about you in your friends blogs, social websites serve as an alert call which you should not ignore. If you find certain irrelevant photos or conversations, try to delete them or tell your friends to remove it.
Close Extra Accounts:
Over a period of time, we all tend to open several accounts in many social networking sites which later on lie idle. These accounts are targeted by hackers to steal your valuable information which can put you in a tight spot. So for keeping your profile and information safe, try to close those accounts in which your visits are limited. This fact is particularly true with the elderly. Many single men and women are getting on senior sites to find companionship and love. Identity thieves know this and take advantage of it. They will pose as a well to do, single men or women. They will build a relationship with you via the internet. They will build trust. And then they will ask you to cash checks for them, send them money, apply for something for them, and get your personal information. Beware anyone who you have not met asking you for those kinds of things. Make sure you know who you are talking to. Many times they are just manipulating you to get information. If you are going to meet people on the internet, you are going to have to take some time to investigate them too.
We can no longer take things at face value in an growing ‘virtual’ society.
There are dozens of precautions you can take to decrease your chances of being a victim of identity theft. As a member of keepmyID.org, each customer is taught the preventative measures to take. You will receive the latest training and materials from the foremost experts in the field. You will be alerted to the most common scams and schemes. All of this information will be available through our online resource center. Find out more about identity theft protection at KeepMyId.org or calling 800-664-5936.