Keeping your identity safe online and elsewhere is paramount in today’s highly digitized world. If you allow hackers to access information about you, it could result in a wiped-out bank account or a hacked email address, which will lead to major frustrations.
As Chairman and Co-Founder of Credit.com and IDT911 Adam Levin believes, escaping identity thieves is nearly impossible, but you can make their job tougher.
“With identity theft and hacking running neck and neck as the third certainty in life, here are some behaviors to be avoided at all costs, because failure to follow best practices here will definitely come at a cost.”
So what are some mistakes that might lead to your identity being hacked? Here are five examples of the worst things you can do.
1. Ignore Your Bank Account & Your Credit Scores
Keeping your credit scores under close watch has been discussed here before. Checking your online bank statement is the fastest way to determine if someone has stolen your bank credentials and begun to make purchases. You should review your bank account regularly, especially after buying something online or from a business that you know was recently hacked. Check your credit scores as well (here’s how to do it for free with Credit.com), to ensure someone else isn’t opening credit lines in your name. It’s also a good idea to check your credit reports (also free — here’s how to get them).
2. Use One Password
Your passwords are often the only thing keeping you from being hacked, so make them complicated, and use different ones for every site you access, suggests the California Office of the Attorney General. If someone discovers that an easily hacked site contains the password to your Amazon account, they could begin making purchases before you realize it — especially if you ignore your bank account.
3. Don’t Bother to Check Website Credentials
Phishing is everywhere. If you don’t look to see if a website is the authentic site for Amazon or some other online shopping center, then you could easily fall prey to a phishing scheme that will steal your password. Be careful of emails as well, as these can be used to phish for information.
4. Give Out Your Social Security Number
Your Social Security number is the most valuable piece of data iyou possess. Hackers can set up all kinds of accounts in your name if they have your Social Security number and your address. Don’t give them that chance. Keep your Social Security number as secure as possible.
5. Tell Everyone on Facebook Where You Are Going
Remember that Facebook is readily available to anyone with a computer, and if someone wants to break into your house, they can find out the best time for that by looking at your social updates. So don’t say whether you’re on vacation, and don’t make your daily schedule of when you’re out of the house available online.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
- What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Identity Theft?