What are you doing to protect against identity theft and related fraud?
Are you using a personal VPN along with a firewall and antivirus software on your computer? Do you use a shredder for financial documents? Do you “just say no!” to those who request your Social Security number over the phone, on websites, or on patient or student forms?
Those are all good steps – but there are other ways you could become a victim. In fact, the FTC says the top-five ways that thieves obtain highly sensitive information that leads to identity theft and related nightmares includes:
- Rummaging through trash looking for mail with personal information.
- Using a “skimmer” (a tiny storage device) to steal credit or debit card numbers when you swipe your card.
- Phishing and/or spearphishing – both modes of sending emails pretending to be someone else in the hopes you’ll click on a malicious link (i.e., your bank or someone sending you an e-card greeting).
- Hacking into your email or online accounts.
- Stealing wallets, purses, or hard-copy mail from your mailbox.
Yes, this means that a whopping 40% of all identity fraud cases happen online thanks to privacy weaknesses on social media, wifi network theft, and similar online activities.
The odds have never been higher for becoming a fraud victim, as it’s an easy crime to perpetrate. Even worse, it’s a crime that is almost impossible to catch.
Check out this video from the FTC that shares real-world tips for protecting your information: