Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog
In the minute or so it takes you to read this article, approximately 30 people nationwide will get their identities stolen. This may seem like an unrealistic speed, but in 2013 a study by Javelin Strategy & Research proved that Americans become victims of identity fraud at a rate of roughly 2 per second.
As we’ve pointed out many a time on our blog here, it seems that people remain unaware of the risks from identity theft. Despite widespread media coverage advocating better information practices online, Americans continue to connect more and more services together (Facebook to bank accounts to 3rd party websites and more) without checking into whether those sites posses adequate protection for their information. By doing a few simple things, you can help fix this problem and significantly lower your risk of being a victim.
1) Check for https certification in the URL of websites
The ‘s’ on the end of the regular http protocol stands for ‘secure’ – meaning that the website in question has taken additional steps on their end to ensure that your information ends up where it should be. Most banks and payment processing services (Visa, Mastercard) posses this, but be wary when you enter card information into 3rd party retailers for purchases.
2) Monitor your free digital credit report
Part of being vigilant about identity theft is making sure that someone doesn’t already have your information and is using it. As mandated by the federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the website www.annualcreditreport.com is the only free and accurate source provided for consumers by the 3 credit reporting agencies. By keeping a tab on your online credit scores, you will be able to ascertain if there has been any suspicious activity and whether you need to contact the agencies to correct information or dispute changes in your credit rating. You can also request the report in person by calling (877) 322 – 8228.
3) Stop oversharing on social media
One of the most efficient ways for someone to gain malicious access to your accounts online is to be able to guess the answers to your recovery questions. When you share large amounts of personal insights on social media networks, you are opening yourself up to someone being able to glean that information without needing to do advanced infiltration. Always ensure that privacy settings are up to date and generally follow this rule: think before you post.
4) Keep paper records and shred them regularly
This may seem like an odd practice regarding primarily digital files, but keeping paper records is the best way to double check transactions online. A generally accepted timeline would be to keep and review your paper records vs. online records once a month for discrepancies, and then shred the paper documentation in a secure manner. The Data Vault offers drop-off residential shredding Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM at our Louisville, Kentucky location.
All of these tips are just a few of the things that can help make you much less likely to be a victim of identity theft; while there is no 100% solution to the problem the chances of it happening to you can be significantly reduced by following the simple guidelines mentioned above and using common sense with the internet.