An identity theft is any kind of scam or deception that can happen to someone and results in that person losing some important personal data.
Wikipedia defines identity theft as “ the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss.
The person whose identity has been assumed may suffer adverse consequences if they are held responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another’s personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. ”
For some people, an identity theft is just a minor problem, as they are able to solve it quickly and get their identities back. While for some, the recovery process could cost millions of dollars and could cause a great damage to their reputation, make them lose their jobs. The difference between these two set of individuals is that this first group of people has protection from this kind of theft, while the other doesn’t.
Protecting yourself can even prevent thefts in most cases and this is why you should take these steps to ensure your identity’s safety online.
1. Protect all of your devices with strong, up-to-date security software
This is the most important step to take when trying to prevent theft of your identity. If your computer or phone is infected with malicious software, other safeguards are of little help because you’ve given the criminals the key to all your online actions. Also be sure that any operating system updates are installed.
2)Use strong, secure passwords, and different ones on different Sites
Are you still using the same password on multiple sites or you’re still using a dictionary word or your dog’s name as your password, there’s no time like now to make the change to a strong password that uses letters, numbers, caps, and special characters if possible.
Still, even though you have a good strong password it’s worthless if you use it on multiple sites and one of them is compromised. Use a service like Keepass, LastPass or another similar password manager to create, keep, and manage multiple strong passwords for all of the sites and services you use on the internet.
3)Use HTTPS Everywhere (Or At Least Everywhere You Can)
While it’s not foolproof, making sure you’re connected to as many of your favorite sites over SSL is the best way to make sure you’re actually talking to the site you think you’re talking to.
You can use the HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox and Google Chrome to force hundreds of sites to HTTPS, enable HTTPS on Facebook, do the same for Twitter, and check to make sure to look for the lock or the green box next to the URL in your browser’s address bar to make sure the version of the site you’re on is secure.
If it’s not, try the site address with https:// in front of it to see if it works.
4) Never let your credit card out of your sight.
Worried about credit card skimming? Always keep an eye on your card or, when that’s not possible, pay with cash.
5. Know who you’re dealing with.
Whenever anyone contacts you asking for private identity or financial information, make no response other than to find out who they are, what company they represent and the reason for the call. If you think the request is legitimate, contact the company yourself and confirm what you were told before revealing any of your personal data.
6) Destroy private records and statements.
Tear up – or, if you prefer, shred – credit cards statements, solicitations, and other documents that contain private financial information.
Source : lifehacker