5 Ways To Prevent Identity Fraud

Identity theft is a major worry for people everywhere, not just in the US. Identity theft concerns have been widespread for a while. But during the past few years, its frequency has skyrocketed. Almost one-third of Americans have been victims of identity theft, with 15 million cases reported yearly. In a report by the FTC, credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft in the first half of 2022, generating over 230,000 complaints out of the 600,000 cases of identity theft incidents. 

Should you be concerned about identity theft? Your personal information is constantly in danger due to the nature of technology and the internet. You use your details to perform various tasks, including filling out forms online. And as technology evolves, so are identity thieves getting smarter.

The good news is that you may prevent identity theft by exercising basic caution and following safe cybersecurity procedures to deter hackers. 

What Is Identity Theft? 

According to USAGov, identity theft covers every crime in which someone obtains another person’s details to commit fraud. When someone steals your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address, they commit identity theft. Identity theft turns into identity fraud when these details are used to create a bank account, apply for a credit card, or get official documents.

Your name, address, and date of birth are enough to create a separate “you.” There are several methods for obtaining your personal information. An identity thief will then use it to open bank accounts, get credit cards, and apply for government benefits in your name. These acts can damage your credit rating while costing you time and money. 

How Do You Prevent Identity Fraud?

You have or may become a victim of identity theft if you have recently lost an important document such as a passport or driving license. Be careful if strange items appear on your bank or credit card statement or if you receive bills for goods or services you are unaware of.  All these are signs another person may have used your identity. 

Here are some ways you can prevent identity theft: 

1. Use API Authentication 

Your information is valuable to you, internet services, and, yes, hackers as well. You must keep it as secure as possible and only use services prioritizing your privacy and security. As such, API authentication and other web application security measures are essential. 

Authentication API enables passwordless authentication or secure second-factor authentication. It serves as a gatekeeper, allowing only legitimate users access while preventing online criminals who stalk websites looking for the smallest opening to exploit. Because of this fast defensive response, API authentication is one of the most effective data security methods available.

2. Keep your Mail Safe

Not all forms of identity theft are high-tech. Some steal people’s information by gaining access to their mailboxes. You can protect your mail using these tips:

  • Pick up your mail immediately after delivery. 
  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail if you expect credit cards, checks, or other negotiable items. 
  • Contact the issuing agency immediately if you are expecting and do not receive a check or other valuable mail. 
  • Notify your Post Office and business partners if you change your address
  • Inform your Post Office if you will be out of town so they can hold on to your mail. 
  • Report every suspected mail theft to the Postal Inspector or local police. 

3. Use Difficult Logins and Passwords 

Experts advise using strong, unique passwords for your online services and accounts and using different passwords to make it more difficult for crooks to access all accounts simultaneously. Some online services require strong passwords with many types of characters – the password you submit when signing up is only accepted if it is long and complicated enough.

4. Check Your Credit Reports and Bank Statements Regularly

Making routine credit checks part of your regular financial maintenance strategy will assist you in detecting problems that may indicate identity theft or fraud early on. A credit report might alert you if you see an unfamiliar address, credit accounts you did not apply for, or activity on credit cards you last used a long time ago.

Examine your credit records if you receive notification of a data breach, if your wallet, credit card, or personal information (such as your SSN) is stolen, or if there is a significant swing in your credit score and you need help understanding why. Even if everything appears in order, you should check your credit report at least once a year.

5. Shred Documents Before Disposing

One of the primary motivations for document shredding is to prevent identity theft. Identity thieves can use paper containing personal information to steal an identity. If you don’t shred your documents before throwing them away, identity thieves can use the information they get on them to apply for credit cards or passports under a stolen persona.

Never throw away or recycle bank statements, bills, or any other documents containing your personal information. Purchase and utilize a home document shredder.

In Conclusion

It’s critical to avoid taking your personal data’s security for granted because identity thieves frequently target you when you least expect it. You’ll make yourself a more difficult target for thieves as you take steps to protect your identity and information. And you’ll be able to rest easier knowing that your information is secure as long as you keep an eye on your credit, safeguard your devices and accounts, stay away from phishing and other scams, and keep your documents out of the wrong hands.

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