Identity theft is a significant threat in today’s digital world that is often overlooked by Internet users. Identity theft is not a joke. It is the process by which a person fraudulently uses another person’s identity for his or her benefit, such as securing credits and loans. In the cyber world, your identity is always under threat in various ways, such as your information, photos, and videos available in social media and professional networks.
Signs you are a victim of Identity theft
Credit score: Credit score is an important financial parameter to assess the creditworthiness of an individual. When you notice a significant change in your credit score even when you are financially disciplined, you could be a victim of identity theft.
Loan liability: If you are receiving requests from financial institutions to pay the dues for a loan that you have never taken, you could be a victim of identity theft.
Social security: If you are receiving email messages or SMS notifications about government subsidies that you have never opted, you could be a victim of identity theft because someone might be using your social security number, such as the Aadhar Card number.
Income tax notice: If you are receiving a notice from the Income Tax department on a high-value transaction that you never performed, you could be a victim of identity theft.
Credit card: If you are receiving a credit card or bank statement that you never applied through an email message, postal letter or SMS, you could be a victim of identity theft.
So, how do you protect yourself when you see these signs of identity theft. Let us look at few steps to prevent Identity theft.
How to protect yourself from Identity theft
The following steps help you protect from identity theft:
Avoid oversharing: Provide only required information on social media so that the chances of identity theft are minimized. Specifically, share only the required personal information and do not share your information, such as location and address, contact number and details, date of birth, employment details, family details and travel plans.
Verify website reputation: Use your credit card and bank accounts in only reputed websites during online shopping to protect yourself from identity theft. For example, if you make a transaction on a Shopping website that is managed by fraudsters, they can gain access to information, such as your name, credit card number, cvv number and date of birth, which can be misused for the advantage of these fraudsters.
Monitor credit score: Constantly monitor your credit score and ensure that there are no major variations. If your credit score has considerably reduced in the recent past, someone may be fraudulently using your identity for gaining financial benefits, such as for availing loan and not making repayments.
Share files carefully: When you share physical copies of an ID or address proof, ensure that you are giving it to only an authorized person.
Shred unwanted files: Ensure that you use a paper shredder to dispose unwanted documents instead of dumping them in a dustbin. If you have any digital documents, use shredder software to delete them permanently.
Report identity theft: If you suspect identity theft, immediately report it to the Police. Alternatively, raise a flag with your banks and creditors so that fraudsters do not gain undue advantage on your behalf.
Put these tips into practice and be safe in the digital world. However, these are some of the tips for you to protect your identity. The key is to be vigilant and intelligent so that you protect those information that matters most to you!