Identity theft is a crime that involves creating counterfeit documents or misusing things such as genuine identification and financial assets. Once a person has enough information, they can either create or steal an identity, enabling them to commit fraud. This could be by taking someone’s money, falsely claiming on insurance or through other criminal activity.
And it doesn’t just happen to individuals. Businesses have also been targeted by fraudsters who can impersonate a company through many different avenues, such as using fake email addresses and sending false invoices to clients.
Fraud can ruin lives, so what steps can you take to avoid it?
Lock Away Important Documents
Any identifying documents such as your birth certificate, insurance information and your passport need to be safely locked away. A safe would be ideal, or any locked container. As a minimum, you must keep important data out of sight, away from windows or out of view from areas that welcome outside visitors.
For businesses, ensure that important documents and information is only accessible by authorised individuals.
Shred Old Documents
When a document has become out of date, it’s imperative that you destroy the old version. Removing them can ensure you remain safe as no one will be able to access any information that is still accurate, protecting you against any risks. This could include things such as old credit cards, expired passports and old bank statements.
For businesses, this is an even more important task. With so many important documents coming through your company, information needs to be properly cared for and appropriately destroyed when they expire. There are plenty of options available for shredding in London, so you have no excuse to put yourself at risk of a data breach.
Use Secure Sites and Update Virus Protection
Regardless of whether you’re surfing the web for personal or business reasons, always use secure pages. They are identifiable by the green padlock by the ‘https’ in the search bar. This means that you are on a secure page and your data is encrypted. Additionally, always update your virus protection or anti-malware software to ensure that any potential threats are swiftly identified.
Telephone and Phishing Scams
Telephone and phishing scams can be an easy way for fraudsters to gather your information. To prevent yourself from being at risk, never click on unknown links or unexpected email attachments. Sometimes, the sender can look legitimate, but it is easy to be fooled.
Similarly, if someone calls you and asks for bank details, do not trust them. Bankers will never ask for your details over the phone, and transactions should not be completed this way.
Destroy Old Devices
A large amount of our data is still accessible on devices we no longer use. From sensitive documents to personal pictures and passwords, your old phone or laptop could hold the key to your identity. All of this information can be used to the benefit of a fraudster, so be sure to wipe all data from an old device and dispose of the machine safely.
Identity theft can be detrimental to both your personal and professional life. Fraudsters can access private information and gain access to financial assets and more. To prevent this from happening, always ensure you hide important documents and dispose of data effectively.