Identity theft is a common issue in America and around the world. It is important to take steps to safeguard your information to prevent it from being stolen. Some of these steps include:
- Do not take your Social Security card with you when you go out.
- If you go somewhere (child’s school, doctor’s office, your workplace, etc), make sure you understand what information is needed from you and what they do with that information.
- Shred your old receipts, credit card offers, credit applications, credit card statements, checks, bank statements, insurance forms, physician statements, expired credit cards, and any other documents that contains your personal information.
- When throwing out your prescription bottles, destroy the labels on them so you can no longer see your information on it.
These steps can help reduce your likelihood of having your information stolen from you. When you share information online, you need to take a different approach to keeping your personal information safe to prevent identity theft, such as:
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, in your email, or through the post office.
- If you receive an email, phone call, or postal mail about a company needing some personal information from you, make sure you find that company’s phone number or email address on their own website and contact them that way instead of through the way they contacted you. This can protect you from potential scammers trying to steal your information. If you receive any suspicious emails, phone calls, or postal mail, make sure to not respond specifically to those attempts at contact.
- If you decide to dispose of your computer or mobile device, make sure you wipe all of your personal information multiple times. This is important to do, because wiping it just once will not be enough. Hackers can get into your device after you have disposed of it and steal your information from it. Wiping it multiple times reduces the chance of this happening.
- Make sure your data is secure when paying for something online or sharing any other personal information. If you see a lock icon in the status bar of your browser, then it means your data will be transferred securely.
- Keep your passwords safe and do not use the same password for every account. Make sure your password is random and not actual words. Letters, numbers, and special characters make for a more secure password. Also use capital and lowercase letters to help keep your information safe.
- Be careful on social networking websites, do not over share your personal information on there. Do not post your full name, account information, social security number, or any other personal information.
When you apply for a job, sign up for utility service, apply for a loan, rent an apartment, or use a financial institution, you may be asked for your social security number. If for some reason you are asked to share your social security number, make sure you ask the company or business what purpose they need it for and how they will use your information. You can also ask how they will protect your social security number and what will happen if you decide to not share it with them. Certain services may be denied to you if you decide to not share your social security number. Your employer will need your social security number to pay you your wages and for tax reasons.
In order to keep the devices you use, such as your computer or cell phone, secured there are some products and services that will help you with this. For example:
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware/malware software protection on your computer (some cell phones allow these as apps too).
- Use a firewall when connected to the internet.
- Keep your computer and applications up-to-date.
- Use a VPN to hide your location.
- If you receive emails from someone unknown, do not click any links or download any files from them. This can result in your computer getting infected by a virus or spyware.
- If you receive a suspicious email from someone you do know, call and ask the person if they sent you the email. Chances are, they may have been hacked.
- When you are out in public using a WiFi hotspot in the local café or at an airport, make sure any personal information you send is secured. If it is not, do not send any information to anyone when using their WiFi. If the network is secured, then that information sent will be protected.
- Do not keep passwords stored on your computer. Do not use an automatic login feature on any website, especially ones with your personal information stored on it. Log off of any websites you have used when you are done with them.
When you visit any website, most of them have Privacy Policies you should take a look at, before signing up to use their services or products. Most websites collect a lot more information about you than you may realize. Even without signing up, they collect information from you for just visiting them. And if any of the websites offer products or services you can pay for, make sure the payments go through a secure transfer through the website. If not, there is a better chance for your information to be stolen.
The best way to do this, and to make sure all of your information is removed, is to use our services Wiperts, which is a website that professionally removes all of your personal information from the internet. This includes everywhere you have your information online, and allows an easier, quicker solution to removing your data, compared to doing it by yourself. They also offer a data monitoring service which allows them to catch any personal information that shows up about you online, then it is deleted by Wiperts. If there is some personal information you would like to keep online, you can specify what you would like deleted and Wiperts will only delete that information. Once your personal information removal is completed, it is no longer available online for hackers to steal from you. This helps keep you and your personal data safe from identity theft.