UPDATED: February 21, 2023

Protecting your identity is essential in this 21st century. As anybody can fall prey to identity theft anytime, you should have proper information on this and know how to mitigate risk and safeguard your personal details. 

What constitutes identity theft is when your private information reaches the wrong individuals and is exploited for transactions and other types of scams without your knowledge. The most intimidating fact is that we often make our personal details available online, making it hassle-free for cyber criminals to seize them.  

Luckily, you can stay protected by knowing what it is, how it happens, and how to eliminate its risk. So, without delay, let's get started with identity theft 101!

Identity Theft: Overview

They commit identity theft whenever somebody acquires your private information, including your SSN, credit card number, driving license, and other credentials. This concept of identity fraud covers creating credit card accounts, getting loans, and even obtaining medical care using your name. If you're willing to know more about identity theft, please consider reading mcafee identity theft protection review

What causes identity theft?

A violation of data

It is called a data intrusion whenever somebody gains unapproved access to a user's data. Identities, Social Security numbers, and credit card information are some of the most typical pieces of information taken during this type of violation. While it is difficult to secure private data against data theft entirely, some methods may be taken to reduce the risk.

Wi-Fi hacking

When using a public Wi-Fi connection, cybercriminals have the ability to “snoop” and capture any personal data you enter on a site.

Dark web marketplaces

A secret internet connection unavailable to the typical user is known as the “dark web.” Fraudsters can sell their private information to others via this marketplace.

Unsafe online surfing

By adhering to well-known sites, particularly those with security certifications, you may navigate the internet securely. The issue arises if you input your data into a website that is insecure or has been hacked. You can be immediately giving a thief your credentials in this situation. Thankfully, most current browsers alert us when we attempt to access malicious web pages.

How to safeguard yourself from identity theft 101?

  • Instead of using the title of your preferred heavy metal band or sport, make sure each password is distinctive, longer than 10 characters, and a combination of numbers, characters, and symbols.
  • Missing invoices in the mail? Since a thief could have altered your billing address, notify the related businesses.
  • Know how to spot fraud by being educated. Some may be clever and appear to be trustworthy. But you should never click on any email links since this will significantly lower your chance of falling for a deception.
  • While feasible, only purchase from reliable websites when buying online.
  • Use the security and confidentiality software Hotspot Shield. Data encryption adds a substantial degree of security to safeguard your identification and content.
  • Each of the three major credit reporting companies should provide you with a free copy of your credit history every year. Keep an eye out for weird stuff, such as new institutions you never formed and other misleading statements.
  • Antivirus, antimalware, and firewall software that is constantly updated should be installed on all your smart devices.

Suppose you have suspected an identity theft. In that case, you need to check that you will get access to your vital accounts, conduct a virus scan on your PC, or you may modify the account password, and if you want the IRS to flag an account for dubious behavior, you must file an ID Fraud Affidavit.