5 things you should know about identity theft


Knowing how identity theft happens can help you better understand which information you need to protect and how you can avoid becoming a victim.

We’re now more connected than ever thanks to the Internet. While this undoubtedly makes many things easier, it also means we’ve inadvertently made our personal and financial lives more susceptible to identity theft. Since protection is the key when it comes to identity theft, here are five things to consider:

1. Know how thieves get in

Dumpster diving: digging through trash for any papers with your personal information that could give access to your accounts

Robbery: stealing government-issued identification and documents to open accounts in your name

Phishing: using unsolicited emails that contain software to search computers and devices for personal
and financial data

Phone scams: convincing people to give their personal or financial information over the phone

Data dumps: accessing the private data of customers at retail stores, medical facilities, and credit card companies to access personal information

2. Be careful what you share

Social media accounts with low privacy settings may leave you vulnerable to identity theft.

A cyber criminal could find your name, address, birthdate, or phone number and use this info to open accounts or sign up for a driver’s license.

When you use a public Wi-Fi connection, you leave a digital footprint. Be careful about what information you send and receive, always check that the web address matches the name in the address bar, and consider using a VPN to connect to public Wi-Fi.

3. Help protect kids and elders

Criminals can even steal the identity of children, since parents might not think to check their child’s credit history. Thieves may steal a minor’s identity years before because kids typically access their credit history when starting to establish a financial record as adults. To help protect a child’s identity, parents can request
a copy of their child’s credit report each year and look for any suspicious activity.

The elderly can also be targets for scammers as they may be more trusting with their personal info. Because these individuals grew up without the Internet, they may not understand what they need to do to help protect their online identity.

4. Be less vulnerable

There are a few things you can do to help protect yourself:

  • Shred any personal documents, like bank and credit card statements.
  • Online, make sure you screen what you share and remove location tags from photos.
  • Use online passwords that are unique and hard-to-crack with a mix of symbols, letters, and numbers.
  • Monitor all of your financial accounts weekly, reporting any discrepancies immediately.

5. Identity theft and data breaches

Being careful is important, but it’s likely not enough. With the recent Equifax data breach, over 147.9 million people had their personal information exposed. This is when an identity theft protection services can help by sending you alerts if suspicious activity is identified within their network, or if new accounts are opened with your Social Security number.

LifeLock is one such comprehensive service. The unique combination of Norton Security and LifeLock identity theft protection is the fortification that gives you peace-of-mind to confidently move forward in the online and offline worlds. Taking common sense precautions can help protect you and your family against identity theft, but LifeLock is the next level of protection.

No one can prevent all identity theft.
† LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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