It is easy to become overwhelmed during the holidays. There are parties to be on time for, a long list of presents to buy and wrap, not to mention the responsibilities of your actual everyday life. It is tempting to shop online because of the convenience and low prices. However, this is prime time for hackers to take advantage of your busy schedule and lack of time. If you aren’t careful, if you don’t stay vigilant, identity theft can happen to you. One simple slip or a thoughtless mistake may result in a big headache later.
Identity theft is a problem with a multitude of damages. The repercussions of this issue can linger for years and in the worst cases, it can leave you ruined financially. Attempting to take back your identity is very difficult, so prevention is really the best option.
Phishing and Identity Theft
When you hear the word “phishing,” it refers to the fraudulent practice of sending someone emails that appear to be from legitimate companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal. Examples of this could be from a company like eBay or PayPal asking you to give them important details about your finances. Also, if you get a red flag email stating that you recently changed your email, give it a double look. It could be that someone has been poking around your emails and trying to test those boundaries.
Identity Theft Protection
There are ways to make sure you are safe. These important tips are invaluable in the war on identity theft. First, update all of your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. This means you would actually have to have these programs installed in the first place! If you don’t have an anti-virus and anti-spyware program installed – the time is now. Make sure you have reputable protection on your computer and keep it updated. After all, your computer is where you look at your bank statements, type in all of your passwords, and store various types of confidential information.
You can also keep your identity safe by shredding all of your bank statements or anything with identifiable information on it. Don’t just toss credit card statements or letters from your insurance company in the trash. If you are planning on saving the documents, be sure to lock them up. Too much information tossed in the trash can lead to a stolen identity if it falls into the wrong hands.
To be serious about saving yourself from the ruins of identity theft, start by thinking like a thief. Before you answer intimate questions online, consider how this information could allow a thief to help himself to your hard earned money. You can also keep yourself safe by checking your credit report as well as on your credit card statements. When you can double-check your activity, you are able to catch inconsistencies that may signal that someone else is using your personal information. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords to high-level security passwords. Try something more intricate than your birthday or your cat’s name. In regards to passwords, never store them on your computer! Hackers are able to quickly and easily sift through your computer to retrieve these passwords to gain access.