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411 on Identity Theft

Its no secret that technology is evolving at a very alarming rate and these days you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your identity. Thanks to the rapid technological advancement, identity theft keeps getting worse. As we get ready for the holiday season it’s time to take a step back, and start protecting yourself. The key ingredient is awareness – vigilance – which people can’t seem retain. Awareness means knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. So basically, the ability to see risk and understanding how to avoid it. Vigilance is the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.

First Steps on Protecting Your Identity

The first step to protecting your identity would be remembering those rules at precisely the moment it matters – right before clicking on a link, before opening an attachment, before visiting a website, before taking an unprotected laptop home and so on. If we help consumers to better understand the reality of identity theft, they might appreciate these tips and apply them more often. There’s a very common assumption that zero liability means as a victim you have absolutely nothing to lose. Zero liability has been interpreted to mean zero risk, zero loss, and zero responsibility. Contrary to popular belief you have everything to lose. In the end the responsibility is up to you. In many case studies we find that most identity theft crisis can be avoided.

Be in the Know - Simple Rules to Live By

Be careful of what you share online. The more information you share online though email and social media, the more likely you are to be exposed. While we are discussing online protection, this next tip should be habit forming. Change your passwords regularly. It has been recommended that you change your password every sixty to ninety days. Changing your passwords too often may feel tiresome, but it is a practice that is imperative to guaranteeing your online security. The next tip you want to be aware of is to always make sure that you are making purchases from secure sites. Be sure to install a firewall on your computer with some form of antivirus software.

Beware of Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Oftentimes consumers find themselves victims to identity theft by trusting unsecure networks. Beware of where you connect to Wi-Fi spots. New studies show that hackers doing data attacks by creating free unsecure Wi-Fi networks. The best advice for users is not to be so intrigued by the convenience of Wi-Fi, to be skeptical and to take your own precautions to secure your computer and information. Ways to identify a rogue site are if a prompt asks you to re-enter your user name and password and if the web browser suddenly says the security certificate is invalid.

If your identity is stolen (or you think it might have been stolen) and you live in one of the 26 states with laws allowing you to do so, consider freezing access to your credit records. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately and notify one of the three credit monitoring agencies. It’s absolutely crucial you quickly respond to these matters to stop the identity thief from doing more damage.

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