Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

by Jan Kennemer 09/08/2019

Globally, identity theft has been on the rise in recent times, and it seems it is not slowing down. Succinctly, identity theft means using someone else personal information without their consent, primarily for financial gain. According to Javelin Strategy, the number of identity theft victims in the US is on the rise yearly, and its victims rose to 16.7 million in 2017. To be on the safe side, make sure you always take the following steps:

1. Strengthen your password 

If you are the type that uses common terms like "password," "freedom," "letmein" or "1234abcd", you are putting yourself in danger because hackers can quickly get access into accounts just by typing common passwords. Also, your pets’ name, date of birth and mother's maiden name are not hard to find. You can pump up the strength of your password by using a random combination of special characters, numbers, and letters different for each account.

2. Be cautious when shopping online.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry can host a website for as cheap as $30. With that in mind, criminals can create a fake online shop with meager prices for in-demand products to lure you to submit your credit card information and personal detail. Be wary of any online retail shop you have not heard of before.

3. Secure your smartphone

For many people, their smartphone houses all their personal information, and you can quickly get access to their social media accounts, banking and credit account, and email. Ensure your phone home screen is password protected, and the password must be strong.

4. Protect your social security number

Make sure you protect your social security number as best as you can since it is the key to all your data. Whenever a corporation or person asks for your SSN (social security number), always ask why it is needed and how protected it'll be. Do not carry your card along with you.

5. Check your credit reports often

Everybody is entitled to one free credit report yearly from each of the three primary credit reporting bureaus. Make it a habit of requesting a credit report every four months so you can check for incorrect or suspicious information throughout the year.

6. Stay alert 

 No matter how careful you may be, you could become a victim. Whenever you go to a public place like a restaurant, do not place your card on a table. A greedy restaurant employee could use his or her phone camera to take a photo of your credit card without you being aware. Inculcate the habit of checking your card regularly because the quicker you detect a problem, the faster you can solve it. 

For more tips on how to prevent identity theft, talk to your finance officer.

About the Author

Jan Kennemer

Jan will show you how you can live close to Washington, DC – by public transit and/or highway – and still enjoy all the many amenities and friendliness of a quiet community. Jan is a life-long resident of Arlington, Va. So, she is very familiar with northern Virginia …Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and close-in Fairfax. She knows where to find those little out-of the-way places where you will still get excellent value and a home that meets your needs. As a Realtor® for over 20 years, Jan has developed a customized system for marketing and selling properties which includes the latest technologies combined with tried and true practices. She has received special training in working with first time buyers, repeat buyers and seniors. She is a certified VHDA trainer and is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES©). Jan is also a certified e-Pro. She gets results you want – the best price in the shortest time. Jan is dedicated to helping clients satisfy their needs and wants while providing them with a strong investment for the future. She is readily available to provide explanations and information. She won’t push you into making an uncomfortable choice. Jan helps you to fully understand the transaction, so that you can always make an informed decision based on facts and figures.