Identity theft is the crime of stealing somebody’s personal information and using it to assume their identity to commit fraud. It can happen in many ways, but it is almost always massively devastating for the victims. They are often left with irreparable damages to their finances, credit ratings, and even their reputations. It’s on the rise, too. In 2020, there were almost 1.4 million reports of identity theft in the U.S. — a figure nearly double the previous year.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. There are proactive measures you can take to protect yourself. In this article, we’ll talk about one of the best free tools available to safeguard your personal data — Trend Micro™ ID Security. More on that later, but first, let’s see why it’s so important that you’re protected!
Click the button below to learn more about Trend Micro™ ID Security.
What information do identity thieves want?
Criminals are looking to get their hands on any information that can be used to impersonate you. This includes your name, address, email addresses and passwords, credit card and bank account information, Social Security number, and more.
Here are some of the things the Federal Trade Commission says criminals can do with your data:
- Get new credit cards in your name
- Open a phone, electricity, or gas account in your name
- Steal your tax refund
- Get medical care under your name (and leave you with a huge bill!)
- Pretend to be you if they get arrested
Cybercriminals also often put stolen data up for sale on underground forums on the regular internet, as well as the dark web. Knowing whether or not your data has been leaked online and is in the hands of cybercriminals can seem like an impossible task, but check out tip number 4 underneath to learn exactly how you can do this (for free, too!).
How to protect yourself against identity theft
Here are some of our best tips to ensure that you don’t become a victim:
Tip #1 — Perfect your password management
The best passwords contain at least 8 characters and are made up of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You shouldn’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts either.
Make sure you set up two-factor authentication (2FA) to give your online accounts the maximum level of protection. To read up on 2FA and learn how to get it working check out this article.
Tip #2 — Don’t take the bait
Phishing scams are everywhere nowadays. According to the FBI’s most recent Internet Crime Report, throughout 2020, over 240 thousand people were victims of phishing or similar scams — more people than any other cybercrime!
To stay safe from phishing scams, you need to exercise caution when clicking on links embedded in emails and text messages, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the sender.
Tip #3 — Shred what’s secure
Although we’re moving towards a paperless society, we still get lots of mail sent out to us containing sensitive personal data. To stay protected, you need to properly dispose of these documents. A shredder is a great investment if you still receive quite a lot of documents by mail, but if not, a good pair of scissors can go a long way to keeping you safe!
Tip #4 — Know if your data has been leaked
Trend Micro™ ID Security — available for Android and iOS — can monitor your personal information on the internet and the dark web 24/7. If your data has been leaked, the app notifies you immediately so you can take action to avoid people stealing your identity. If your information is out there, you’ll be the first to know!
Here are some of the amazing features offered by Trend Micro™ ID Security:
- Social Media Account Monitoring — Scans the internet and the dark web to see if your Facebook and Twitter accounts have been leaked.
- Dark Web Personal Data Manager — Checks if personal data such as your bank account information, driver’s license number, Social Security number, and passport information has been put online or on the dark web.
- Email and Password Checker — If Trend Micro™ ID Security finds your email addresses or passwords have been leaked, it will tell you exactly which accounts were breached so you know which passwords to change.
- Credit Card Checker — Know if someone has stolen your credit card number and leaked it.
Don’t be an easy target
The prospect of having your identity stolen is downright terrifying, but if you follow the tips outlined in this post, you’re making it way harder for the criminals. And by using Trend Micro™ ID Security you’re essentially making it impossible for someone to steal your identity because if your data is ever leaked, you’ll be immediately alerted!
Learn more about Trend Micro™ ID Security and claim your free 30-day trial by clicking here or scan the QR code below to give it a try.