The Computer Revolution/Security/Prevent Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft?[edit | edit source]
While recent developments in telecommunications and computer processing make it easier for companies and consumers to reach each other, they can also scatter your personal information more widely, making life easier for criminals.
Identity theft is the unauthorized collection and use of your personal information, usually for criminal purposes.
Our name, date of birth, address, credit card, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other personal identification numbers can be used to open credit card and bank accounts, redirect mail, establish cellular phone service, rent vehicles, equipment, or accommodation, and even secure employment.
How to Prevent Identity Theft?[edit | edit source]
- Watch out for "shoulder surfers" when using phones and ATM's
- When using PINs and passwords at public telephones and automated teller machines, shield your hand so that anyone watching you through binoculars or using a video camera can’t see what you are doing on the keypad.
- Check your credit card billing statements
- If you see some fraudulent charges, report them immediately. If you don't receive your statement, call the creditor first.
- Use strong passwords/PINs
- You should not use your birth date for your PIN numbers. You should make a password that thieves can not be able to guess from you personal data or habits.
Hire a Company to Protect You From Identity Theft
There are a number of companies out there that will monitor any activity that uses your personal information and alert you of it to make sure that it is you who is using it and not some thief. They will monitor many different situations where your personal information is used, such as when you apply for a credit card, utilities, wireless service, or mortgage loans to name a few. These companies are very useful because if someone does somehow use your identity without your permission and it gets by the company that is supposed to protect your identity, they will assist you and pay for the services needed to help you recover and resolve the matter.
Another way to prevent your identity from being stolen is properly erase your hard drive when you dispose of your old computer. Your computer is an extension of you and has many things such as bank account numbers and personal information that you would not want anyone else to know. When you erase your hard drive, this eliminates the chances of anyone getting a hold of your identity. This is very critical especially if you donate your computer to people or organizations that you don’t know.
Ways to prevent identity theft from your online activities.
•Watch out for phishing websites: These websites look like business websites but are actually fake. They might ask for all of your private information.
•Use an Anti-virus/Anti-Malware Program: Backdoors, keyloggers and other nefarious programs can allow entry to your system and they can be installed in any number of ways. The only way to be sure to protect against them is to install both anti-virus and anti-malware.
•Unique Passwords for Every Website: Generating a secure password is the first step to prevent identity theft by keeping your accounts secure
•Shop Only at Reputable Websites: You might check to see if the site is safe using one of the link checkers or run it by the Web of Trust who also provides a browser plugin.
•Secure Your Wireless Network: If you leave your wireless network open and without a password, not only can an attacker use your network without your knowledge but can also view your website usage. This can allow them to easily build a detailed profile of you and the websites you visit.