Identity theft has become a trillion-dollar industry in an ever-expanding market. Working from the darkest corners of the world, identity thieves are relentless in their pursuit of your personal information to use it or sell it to the dark web. The big data breaches make the headlines, but each year tens of millions of people experience some form of identity theft. While there is little you can do to prevent a major data breach, there are several measures you can take to reduce or eliminate the opportunities for identity thieves to wreck your life.
- If you think your email account may have been attacked (friends informing you they received a strange email from you), change your password immediately.
- Don’t store emails with sensitive information or attachments.
- Doublecheck the source of emails you receive from financial institutions.
- Never, ever provide your social security number or credit card number in an email.
- Never click on a link in an email unless you have verified the legitimacy of the sender.
- Use a password generator or vault program to create random passwords on your various online accounts. (The software program remembers them for you.)
- Check your online financial accounts regularly for any suspicious activity.
- Someone could be recording your keystrokes. Ensure you always have the most recent version of anti-malware software installed.
- Go paperless. Your mailbox can still be a source of personal information.
Shred all documents you are not absolutely required to keep, safely store the rest.