Identity theft can significantly impact your life. Think about how many factors are tied to your identity. Finances, credit scores, and even your reputation are all attached to your identity and could be affected when you face ID theft. Protecting your identity protects your life in many ways.
In this guide, we share some helpful tips to help you understand the best ways to protect yourself from ID theft. Keep reading to learn more!
Top Tips to Protect Yourself from ID Theft
While you may not always be able to prevent ID theft from happening, there are certain steps you can take that may be helpful to you. Being proactive with simple steps may just save your identity.
Check out these top tips!
1. Stay Alert
These days, there are too many scams out there. It’s easy to fall prey to these scams because they look legitimate until you dig more deeply into them. Phishing and spoofing are the biggest scams that people fall prey to. These often come from texts or emails with fraudulent links or could even come from phone calls.
The person sending the message always makes it seem urgent. Then the receiver (you) panics and clicks or calls and ends up in trouble. Stay alert to possible scams like these. Never click on a link that you do not recognize, and instead, contact your provider directly if there is a concern.
Be sure to pay attention to your credit reports and set up alerts so you can react quickly if something seems off.
2. Take Protective Measures
You can invest in protective memberships and protection programs that will help you monitor and protect your identity. These services will vary but typically come at a low monthly fee. That fee is nothing compared to the costs you might incur if your identity is stolen.
Services may include some of these things:
- Credit monitoring
- Financial monitoring
- SSN/ID authentication monitoring
- Dark web monitoring
- Real-time alerts
Look for a company with a good reputation. This Aura identity theft protection review offers some details on a quality program and gives you some good insight as to what you may want to look for.
3. Freeze Credit Until You Need It
One really great option is the ability to freeze your credit. The major credit bureaus allow you to freeze your credit. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion all have a similar process for this, and you should freeze it at all three places to be safe.
Freezing your credit ultimately adds a restriction under your identity that will give creditors an alert your credit is frozen. The alert will be a signal that no new credit can be opened. While someone can look at your credit, nothing else can be done until you choose to unfreeze it.
You can freeze and unfreeze as much as you want, but we recommend you leave it frozen unless you need to open new credit. Then you can unfreeze it temporarily and freeze it again when your steps are complete.
4. Strong Password and Authentication Processes
Setting up strong passwords is one of the best things you can do to protect your identity. All too often, we use passwords that can easily be guessed or figured out by hackers. Instead of using the same password for everything or using words that are obvious, try to keep all passwords unique and challenging.
Many smartphones will offer unique passwords when you are creating passwords. This is one way to incorporate a complex password. Try not to reuse passwords, especially if you are using something common or well-known about you.
As an extension of password protection, you can also use an authenticator app for many access points. Using an authenticator app for access to sensitive data provides another layer of protection.
5. Shred Personal Documents
When you have documents or mail that have any type of personal information, you should shred these things. What seems like trash or junk to you might just be what someone else could use to steal your identity.
Don’t give them the opportunity. Financial documents, credit offers, and anything with personal information should be shredded to avoid the risk.
Why is Protecting Your Identity So Important?
Protecting yourself from ID theft is so important. If someone steals your identity, they can use your social security number, name, credit, address, and other details to obtain credit in your name and even steal funds from you. They use this information to wreak havoc, and it’s very challenging to overcome.
Identity theft is a rampant risk. Thanks to everything being digitized, it makes it easier for fraudsters to become someone they are not. Being proactive can save your reputation and your financial status. They could ruin your credit, and fighting ID theft can be expensive and time-consuming.
There are many little things you can do to protect yourself from ID theft. These small steps can make a huge difference and may just save you from a lot of trouble. It’s not just protecting your credit score but protecting all of the important things that identify you as well. Be proactive to help reduce the risks of identity theft and all that comes with it.