It can happen within the blink of an eye… All of your personal information snatched up by a criminal.
It can be done by clicking on a rogue website link, making an unsafe online transaction, having a wallet or document stolen, losing your phone or falling victim to a home burglary.
Their new ‘identity’ can then be used to make fraudulent purchases, order credit cards, open bank accounts and doctor anything from healthcare claims to criminal records.
In short, it’s not what you want.
Luckily, however, there is plenty you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft (the stealing of the information) or, worse still, identity fraud (the use of that information).
Beware of sharing your name, birth date, address, passwords, bank account details, or credit card, passport, Medicare or drivers licence numbers either over the phone or online, especially when around others or using public WiFi.
Never click on links provided within suspicious websites, pop-up spam offers or via unsolicited emails or texts.
Verify any URLs you might be wary of by running a simple Google search. Where possible, use only websites you know and trust.
Anti-virus and anti-spyware software along with firewalls are still essential purchases in helping keep criminals at bay.
Additionally, any passwords you use to lock away private information and data shouldn’t contain any obvious or guessable words, numbers or combinations within them. Keep them as random as possible!
If sensitive information has been physically written down, never keep it all together. Spread it between multiple safe places, so that in the unfortunate circumstance that one is compromised, the others will still remain secure.
Of course, never simply dispose of these kinds of documents – make sure they’re shredded.
So there we have it! In following these simple steps you will help ensure that you don’t fall victim to identity theft or fraud.
You’ve got a given name… Don’t give it away!
This article is in association with Reef Recycling centrally located in Townsville – it pays to recycle. Visit them online here.