Online identity theft is a growing issue in modern society. In 2017, almost one in every 15 online consumers (6.64%) were victims of identity theft. The financial cost of identity theft can be huge, and so can the emotional toll it takes on those that are breached. A whopping 77.3% of all identity theft victims report experiencing emotional distress.
Understanding how to protect yourself online can make the difference between being upset and out of pocket as a victim of identity theft and browsing safely and securely. ReputationDefender can help individuals to take control of their digital footprint and keep their personal data as safe as possible online.
The advent of social media has been a godsend to identity thieves, with people willingly posting all manner of personal details online that can make stealing their identity easy. A quick scroll through the average Facebook feed will often provide pertinent information such as a full name and date of birth, as well as the type of information that might be used as a security question, such as the names of pets or which school the person attended.
Therefore, one way to help prevent online identity theft is to be more careful about who can see what you post on social media. While the sites may ask for information such as your address and telephone number, it is not always required to submit this, so only do so if necessary. If it does have to be submitted, make sure to check your privacy settings so no-one else can view this information.
Most people today are aware that a large proportion of their online activity is tracked by a variety of organisations to provide marketing data to companies. A lot of the time this can be useful, as it means that the advertisements we see when browsing are relevant and more likely to contain products and services that we are interested in.
However, there are also obvious privacy concerns, mostly based around the fact that we rarely know who is collecting our browsing data or what it is being used for. Typically, it will be data brokers that are gathering the information, which they then sell on to individual companies and marketers.
There is almost always an option to opt-out of having personal data sold in this manner, or to delete it or ensure it is accurate. Proactively opting out of all the most popular data broker sites can therefore prevent your information from being sold in this way.
Preventing Identity Theft
There are various other measures that can be taken to help prevent online identity theft from occurring. These include selecting options for paperless billing wherever possible, ensuring that all the information you need comes directly to your inbox.
Antivirus and antispyware software should be installed and regularly updated to help protect your connected devices. If you do have paper documents, these should be stored securely and shredded when no longer required. No personal account information should be shared with anyone, including friends and family.
If you are contacted by an organisation requesting that you share any personal data, be sure that the source is genuine – perhaps by verifying the phone number or email address and calling or messaging them back before divulging any information. Passwords should be unique and changed regularly, and not contain any obvious information such as your own name or date of birth.
ReputationDefender can help you to establish an online presence that is as secure as possible to protect you from the possibility of identity theft. You can follow ReputationDefender on Twitter or find out more about them on their Crunchbase profile.