What is identity theft? It is when someone steals the identity of someone else, and then uses that identity to pretend to be someone else in order to gain access to financial resources. Bank loans and leasing information are some examples of financial resources. The identity thief can then use this information to gain deeper access into your financial history and other sensitive information.
Identity thieves can also gain access to your internet credentials and then try to hack into your account and spam all of your contacts, especially your loved ones. Often times, these criminals will try to ask your contacts for money or other favors through pretending to be you. The key here is learning how to safeguard yourself against these criminals.
Starting with the internet, we need to be extra careful. I say this because it’s a deeply social medium for communication. I think people have less inhibitions when they are online, and often times allow themselves to either expose or conceal themselves in a much more dynamic way. In other words, you can be anybody or anything online. There are also people who open themselves up too much, and aren’t aware for the dangers of internet identity theft.
A good way to be safe would be to use aliases when opening an account online. Also, use long and difficult passwords that contain numbers, symbols, and even capital letters. This will safe guard your personal information from potential hackers. Put lock codes on your electronic devices that require passwords in order to access them. Develop a series of passwords that you can store somewhere safe for easy access and memory for you, and train your brain to remember all of them.
Another way to protect yourself is to make sure you master your own signature. Practice signing and re-signing your name several times. This is particularly useful when using a checkbook or signing your credit card. All of the signatures have to match. Having a picture on your credit card is another safeguard, and is perhaps one of the best deterrence for identity thieves.
The two main points to remember here is that you need to have strong login credentials that have symbols, numbers, and long words. The second thing to remember here is your physical signature. It needs to be long and difficult to copy. You also need to make sure you are consistent with that signature so that you do not forget exactly how to sign it again.