Unfortunately, scammers trying to steal your information and identity online aren’t going away. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 1.1 million reports of identity theft from consumers in 2022, and that number has steadily increased as scammers get more advanced.
Having your identity stolen can have serious financial consequences and sometimes takes hours of work over months to sort out and repair. So while scammers get more advanced, you need to as well.
Here are our five best ways to keep your identity safer when you’re online:
While many people wait until after their identity is compromised to act, one effective way to stay safer online is to be proactive. In addition to the other tips in this article, getting a comprehensive identity protection service now, before you suffer from identity theft, is one of the best ways to help protect your identity.
LifeLock is a leader in identity theft protection services for good reason. With Standard, Advantage and Ultimate Plus, there’s a LifeLock option for everyone. The products are designed to help protect your identity and sensitive personal information by continuously monitoring online activity, then providing assistance in case your identity is stolen.
For more comprehensive protection, the Ultimate Plus package stands alone. In addition to offering dark web monitoring, alerts of suspicious activity, data breach notifications and more, this service also provides reimbursement for stolen funds and other personal expenses if you become an identity theft victim.
The best part? If you’re concerned about a data breach you can start a free 30-day LifeLock trial (*terms apply) and get protection now.
Keep Your Sensitive Information Private
This starts with your Social Security number. Guard it closely, and if someone requests it, make sure to ask why. Then only share if it’s absolutely necessary.
Your Social Security number is the most important single piece of information, but the same goes for all of your personal information. Don’t share your birthdate, bank account numbers, etc. with anyone you don’t know or trust online.
While it might be easier to store your credit or debit card information for faster checkouts when shopping online, this is just exposing your data to more risk if thieves steal sensitive information from a company’s servers.
Use Strong Passwords
It can be tempting to use simple passwords because they’re easy to remember and keep straight, but this makes things too easy for a scammer. Use complex passwords that thieves can’t guess and always change your passwords if a company you do business with has a breach of its databases.
There are password generators and password managers available if you’re having trouble creating or remembering complex passwords. Password managers, in particular, are very helpful because you shouldn’t reuse passwords among multiple accounts. If a scammer gets one password, you don’t want them getting all of your accounts.
Learn How To Spot Scams
Many online scams start in your email inbox. You should be very careful about the links you click or attachments you download unless you’re completely sure who you’re receiving them from.
Also, make sure to check the identity of someone reaching out to you unexpectedly. If you’re unable to verify a person’s identity but want to continue the conversation, get their contact information from an official website and then email them yourself.
There are countless ways that you can stay safer online with minimal effort. They mostly come down to paying attention and being vigilant in how you protect yourself. Some examples include:
- Lock your phone and use its security features.
- Update your sharing and firewall settings when you’re on a public wi-fi network and, when possible, use a virtual private network or VPN.
- Review your credit card and bank account statements to ensure you recognize all of the transactions.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
Each of these steps can help you strengthen your defense against identity theft. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Signing up for identity theft protection from LifeLock can immediately fortify your identity online.
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