Data breaches that give hackers access to our personal information are all too common. The more we depend on digital passwords, the more bad guys want to steal them. Millions of people end up changing their passwords, denying fraudulent allegations, and arguing with the IRS over identity theft every year.
And while data breaches decreased in 2020, identity theft through other methods has increased. There are scams related to stimulus checks, purchases on Amazon and Apple, and fake IRS calls.
A report from Wallethub found that Floridians are most likely to be affected by identity theft and fraud, while people of Wyoming are least affected. However, there is a risk that we may receive a scam call. Hence, it is important to be vigilant and protect yourself.
How to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud
If someone steals your identity or attacks you for fraud, it is more than just an unauthorized credit card purchase that you will be dealing with. They can ruin your finances for a long time – they can steal your tax refund, open credit cards on your behalf, and apply for unemployment benefits. Your creditworthiness could be damaged, making it difficult for you to take out a mortgage, lease a car, or open a credit card for years to come.
Make sure you don’t fall for scam or open yourself to theft in the first place
Don’t open emails you don’t recognize, download anything from an unrecognized source, and never send your password or social security number to anyone by phone, email, or messenger app. It is always best to check it directly from the source it came from.
And remember, the federal government doesn’t require you to pay via gift card or wire transfer over the phone, and can’t threaten to call the police or immigration if you resist them – these are all signs of a scam.
You should also choose hard-to-guess passwords and change them for each website login you use. This way, in the event of a data breach, your website won’t put your accounts on other websites at risk.
Keep an eye on your accounts
It may not always be obvious that you have been scammed or that your information has been stolen. There may be a minor charge to your credit card or it may take a year to find out that you are trying to collect your taxes. That is why it is important to stay vigilant.
Sign up for account alerts for suspicious activity and check your credit history frequently. You can see if anyone has tried to open accounts on your behalf. Try a website like Credit sesame.
Within two minutes, you’ll have access to your credit history, all debtor accounts, and a handful of personalized tips for improving your credit score. You can spot bugs that are holding you back (every fifth report has one) and whether there is any suspicious activity.
Would you like to check it out yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds register.
While some crimes cannot be prevented on their own, you can make smart decisions online to prevent further attacks and prevent new ones from getting worse. Be smart and stay safe!
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com