One of the most important aspects of personal security is protecting one’s identity. Dealing with identity theft can be nothing short of a nightmare. And sadly, it’s something that is occurring more frequently than ever before. In 2017 alone, 16.7 million innocent people fell victim. In fact, there’s a new victim of identity theft every two seconds. Thankfully, technology is helping us to keep our precious data and information safe. Here are just a few of the ways below.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Security experts recommend only accessing the internet via what’s known as a virtual private network, or VPN for short. This is basically a paid service that keeps your online activity private and secure – even if you are using public Wi-Fi or visiting unsecure websites. When the device being used is connected the internet via a private VPN server, all of the online activity is processed through that private server. This makes it much more difficult for a hacker to spy or intercept personal information.
Automatic Credit Monitoring
There are plenty of free services that enable consumers to check and monitor their credit activity, however, paid services are much more robust and therefore effective. These are typically offered on a subscription basis through which subscribers can receive weekly updates as well as ad-hoc alerts any time suspicious activity is detected. This enables consumers to take action immediately and mitigate damages. Some services handle everything on the subscribers’ behalf, including notifying the credit bureaus and taking other actions to prevent further theft.
Credit Card Chips/Chip Readers
The magnetic strips on the back of credit cards and bank cards have become a haven for would-be thieves. Using something as simple as a skimming device, placed stealthily over a legitimate card reader, such as an ATM, criminals could easily swipe the card’s information and use it for their own nefarious purposes. While not foolproof, credit card chips have been effective in cutting down on fraud and identity theft. When the encrypted chip is read by a chip reader, it issues a one-time-use token which does not contain credit card information and can therefore not be used to make additional purchases once it’s expired.
We keep a lot of information on our devices. If you were logged into your bank account on your smartphone or kept your passwords on a file stored within your tablet, what would happen if someone unauthorized got ahold of them? The beauty of biometric verification, such as facial and/or fingerprint recognition, is that it makes it difficult, if not impossible for someone else to gain access to your mobile device and anything that’s contained within. Biometric technology is also being used to keep homes and businesses more secure as well.
Dark Web Scanning
Not every criminal uses the identity of victims for their own purposes. Many make money by selling the personal information of unsuspecting individuals to others on what’s known as the dark web. This info includes username and passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers and more. Like credit monitoring services, there are a number of companies offering the service of dark web scanning, which, as its name indicates, involves ongoing monitoring of the web for the presence of any identifying information. Subscribers are then automatically alerted so they can take action.
With the volume of identity theft incidents going up at a disturbing rate, it’s no longer a question of if you’ll become a victim, but rather when. By leveraging the power of technology, such as the examples listed above, you can ramp up your protection and decrease the likelihood of becoming another statistic.