Criminals are known to harvest information for Identity Theft through a variety of methods. We’ve constructed a quick list of seven simple ways to help reduce your chance of being targeted for Identity Theft:
1. Tear up any rubbish that has your name and address on it. Criminals have been known to go looking through rubbish by hand to get the names and addresses of people. They then use this data to fraudulently set up credit cards and bank accounts.
2. Check your credit report every so often to ensure there are no loans, credit cards or other financial activities taking place based on your name. There are a variety of trusted agencies that offer free credit reports; however, we advise you don’t check too often as it can be known to lower your credit rating.
3. Regularly change your online password. This could be for your bank accounts, email accounts and any other platform that requires you to log in. When you do to go changing your passwords, don’t use the same password but alter it with a number or special character at the end. If passwords do get leaked and someone trying Identity Theft receives a failed message, the first step they take is to add numbers and special characters to the end of the leaked password. By changing your passwords to something completely different, you rule out the chance of this happening.
4. Be wary of inviting people into your home or workplace. If you do invite people you don’t particularly know in, be cautious of what information your have on show. This could be any printed documents on the side, visible information open on a computer screen or colleagues speaking about sensitive information within earshot.
5.Where possible, send any physical post directly. If you send any sensitive information, try to make the delivery as direct and secure as possible. This could include double wrapping to mislead what information is inside, taking your post to a post office for recorded delivery (rather than leaving it in a post-box where it could get stolen) and delivering it directly to your colleague rather than through an internal mail system.
6. Don’t click on Facebook ‘quizzes’ and be cautious of what content you post online. Often, users click on content that’s been posted to Facebook which will then redirect them to an external website. These external sites can then record your data and sell it on for Identity Theft or targeted selling methods. If you do use social media sites, take control of what content is ‘visible’ such as your date of birth, workplace and home address and phone number. There are people employed throughout the World to roam Social Media sites and collect this sort of information and sell it on for Identity Theft purposes.
7. Be cautious of what information you give out over the phone. When companies call you, it’s their job to prove to you they are who they say they are. That includes telling you your sensitive information to prove they already have it rather than the other way around. Often people targeting you for Identity Theft purposes will call on an unknown number; it’s usually best not to answer these calls as if it is an official phone call, they can always leave you a voice mail message.