Since the launch of the world-wide web and global impact of the internet as a whole, there has been a huge increase in identity theft year on year from many different sources. This type of crime can have unimaginable consequences for the victim, often leaving them financially striken, unable to obtain credit and generally in a state of mayhem all because of someone’s desire to make money or disrupt your day-to-day life by assuming your name and details and leaving you to pick up the pieces.
The issue and measures to take of how to prevent identity theft are extremely important and could protect you personally, your family, finances and future. This article looks into different ways identity theft criminals can potentially get access to your sensitive information and how they can exploit it. Perhaps more importantly, this guide outlines simple steps on how to prevent identity theft and different aspects of identity theft protection.
It is shocking perhaps to many people, that simple day-to-day actions such as putting the rubbish out can lead to your identity being stolen within minutes. What you deem as rubbish could give a criminal your personal details and allow them to obtain credit by taking advantage of your credit situation. The most common type of mistake when putting rubbish in a bin is that people often include very personal and informative letters within bin bags that contain their name, address and date of birth. This is a criminal’s dream scenario as they could apply for credit cards, loans, car finance and any other financial offering that takes their fancy. Shredding your mail or storing sensitive information such as bank statements, utility bills and any other personal letters in a safe or locked cabinet are great ways to decrease the risk of identity theft. It seems like a simple form of identity theft protection but it is without doubt extremely effective.
Keeping your bank cards safe and any other plastic cards with information on will ensure that criminals do not have direct information to your account number, sort code and name which could be used to make cash transfers by them simply making a phone call. When using your cards in shops and on the internet the simplest forms of identity theft are that you allow other people to see the details or happily enter your details on sites and machines that are not secure.
To prevent online purchase identity theft always check that the website you are buying from carries the URL https:// on any shopping cart, checkout and payment section, this indicates that the website have what is known as an SSL Certificate and is a secure, safe checkout. Most banks and credit card companies will instantly refund any theft through sites that are deemed secure.
With technological advances and a demand to keep up with the latest technologies many people often discard what they deem as old property and non vital home appliances such as laptops, USB sticks, mobile phones and PCs. The biggest and most common mistake made when disposing of personal IT equipment and storage devices is that people leave their personal details without wiping the data fully. Again this is an easy way for criminals to exploit you and it has been known that goods that have either been sold on, disposed of at tips or given away have all been accessed to obtain personal details and commit identity theft.
When disposing of IT equipment or storage devices it is essential you clear the hard drive of any personal data and ensure any passwords and information cannot be obtained. Theft of such items also leaves people open to identity theft. By simply speaking with the seller or manufacturer of the equipment you should be able to obtain secure encryption devices or technology that would strongly reduce the risk of a criminal from being able to access your details.
Social media websites have hugely increased the amount of cases of individual identity theft due to people giving away their details unwittingly without even realising that people they are openly interacting with could be criminals posing as friends to gain access to personal data. Websites such as Facebook ask subscribers to provide their full name, date of birth, e-mail address, phone numbers, home address, occupation and just about every other avenue of information that could completely allow someone to replicate you with ease.
It is a vitally important part of identity theft protection that you only provide sites such as Facebook with the real essential information such as your name, Facebook themselves take the issue of identity theft and security very seriously and will advise you to set personal security settings so that only trusted people or no one at all can actually view any details other than your name. Think about it would you really openly advertise all your personal details anywhere else? The answer should be no and if so you should not advertise them on social media sites for anybody to potentially manipulate.
Just following these simple identity theft protection methods will significantly reduce the risks of your personal details being obtained and exploited without your knowledge, the issue of how to prevent identity theft on a personal basis is one that needs constant attention. If you suspect that you may have been the victim of identity theft Insight Investigations can help you, do not hesitate to contact us for no obligation advice.