Imagine, after years of hard work, careful planning and saving your dollars, you are denied the ability to purchase a home or office space because of identity theft.
Unfortunately, many people around the world have felt the fear and embarrassment that comes after their financial representative politely tells them that their credit has been jeopardized.
As the world grows more electronically connected, protecting your name and credit should become a significant priority.
Scammers are everywhere and they know just how to get us, so we need to be prepared in return. Fortunately, there are a few ways to protect ourselves and our companies.
1. Theft of credit card information can spell big trouble.
Let’s admit it, many of us have verbally given our credit card numbers and security codes over the telephone to restaurants and online companies. We believe that these companies will value us and keep our information safe. What we don’t consider, however, is the other person at the opposite end of the telephone.
Credit card breaches increase each year. NASDAQ recorded a 46% increase from 2013 to 2014 alone, and the USA was the country most affected. Each time we tell a stranger our credit card number, we become exposed to a potential thief.
What can we do? Many banks offer theft protection services for additional fees. When random or suspicious purchases are made, the bank is notified, freezes the account, and notifies the account holder by their preferred method.
2. Logging in to insecure Wi-Fi connections opens your devices to the outside world.
We love to be connected to the world as we go about our days, and restaurants, public institutions, offices and many other places oblige by offering free Wi-Fi. How nice, right? Unfortunately, if Wi-Fi is free to you, it’s also free to others, and hackers can use this connection to worm their way into your devices.
Protect yourself by limiting private records on your devices and refraining from using banking applications on your phone. The convenience of these programs won’t be worth a dime if someone has access to your life savings.
3. A breach in one password can open multiple accounts.
It can be easy and convenient to come up with a single password for all of your accounts. But imagine that someone obtains your email address, figures out your password, and tries the same email and password combination for a variety of websites including banks, health care services and business accounts.
The solution is to create different (unique) passwords for different accounts and change each. Often.
4. Information can be stolen from old bills or bank statements.
Your bills are goldmines for identity thieves that offer your address, social security number, bank account number, and telephone number. This is enough information to open additional credit accounts, loans, mortgages and more.
Horror stories exist where victims have had to pay back thousands of dollars, or have even been arrested for crimes committed under their identities.
5. Sometimes, we give away our social security numbers without needing to.
Most companies do not need your SSN, so refrain from giving out this valuable piece of information when possible. And never email it to anyone over the internet. Make sure that websites are secured (with an “https” in the beginning of the URL) before offering this information.
The actions of thieves can potentially take you years to bounce back from. In light of the many cases that have come up over the years, banks and companies like Bask have ways to protect themselves and clients from these attacks.
Unfortunately, it is harder to protect a company than an individual. That is why preventative action is much more important than reactive securities.