From banking to socializing to shopping and more, people continue to manage more of their lives online and through devices. And while convenient, the more personal information shared and accessed this way, the greater the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. It’s no secret that identity theft is increasingly common and can have devastating effects on victims.
Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it to commit fraud. Such theft is not new and is not limited to the Internet and digital devices; personal information can be—and still is—obtained through mail, unsecured personal documents, and other hard materials as well.
The good news is, you have some measure of control over how easy or hard it is for someone to steal your identity. Here are some best practices to protect your identity, online, over the phone, and in your home/office:
Always confirm who you are sharing information with, and how it will be used. Ask questions before giving your information to someone.
Securely store your personal information in your home or office and dispose of it properly. Place any important documents, credit cards, devices, etc. into a locked safe or other secure location. That way, should someone break in, they won’t have access to personal information.
If traveling, consider holding your mail delivery, or employ the help of a friend who will pick up your mail for you. Identity thieves can sometimes obtain personal information from bills and bank statements.
Secure all personal information access points from your phone. Make sure your phone is password-protected, and actively log out of apps that connect to personal information, like bank accounts.
Use “strong” passwords for your personal accounts, and change them regularly.
In addition to the tips listed above, there are options for additional, proactive identity theft protection. As a AAA Member, you get a free Essential identity theft plan. ProtectMyID® from AAA is fueled by Experian®, a global leader in identity security, and lets you detect and resolve identity threats, the fastest-growing crime in the U.S. with a new victim every two seconds.