Tips for Keeping Your Identity Safe

March 6, 2023

If you’re like most people these days, you worry about identity theft. It can happen, and you could become a victim. But there are steps you can take to keep your identity as safe as possible. Try some of the following tips.

Shop Securely

First, shop securely, especially when you’re shopping online. Only use legitimate websites that have the proper identity security measures. Take a look in the address line on your browser. You’ll see a little padlock there if the website offers secure encryption. Never enter personal information if this symbol is missing. Someone could access your data, and your identity might be in jeopardy.

Be Careful Online

In fact, you should be careful online even when you aren’t actively shopping. If your browser ever tells you that the website you want to visit isn’t safe, then back away. The website might be compromised, or its security certificate may have expired. Also, don’t share confidential personal information online. If you’re interacting with people on a forum, for instance, use a pseudonym, and be careful how much you reveal about yourself and your life.

Don’t Fall for Scams

Don’t fall for scams either. These are common, and you’ll frequently see them in your email account’s in-box. You might get an email that seems to come from a store or service you use. It’ll claim that your account has been compromised and that you need to take action right away by clicking on a link or button in the email. Don’t do it. Instead, mouse over or tap the email’s sender line. You’ll likely see that the sender’s email is simply gibberish. These emails are not from the stores and services you use, so delete them. If you want to make extra sure everything is fine with your account, go directly to the website, and log in there.

Review Your Finances

Keep a close eye on your finances, too. Regularly look at your bank account so that you catch any strange activity right away. Monitor your credit score now and then, too. Look closely at credit card statements, and call the company if you notice anything suspicious. The faster you detect problems, the faster you can solve them.

Update Your Passwords

Frequently update your passwords, too. Ideally, you should have different passwords for each store or service, but even if this isn’t practical, at least use a variety. Your passwords should be strong with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Change your passwords on a regular basis, at least every couple months but certainly if you notice anything strange with an account.

Use Antivirus Software

Be sure you’re using proper antivirus software on your computers and other devices as needed. Many operating systems these days come with antivirus applications already installed. But you should check to make sure they are activated and regularly updated. Also, do at quick scan on your computers and devices periodically to catch any issues.

Get Rid of Documents Correctly

Finally, consider how you’re storing and getting rid of paper documents. While you may have fewer of these with so much going electronic, you should still think about the security of your physical papers. Store important documents, anything that could potentially compromise your identity if it fell into the wrong hands, in a locked box or safe. If you clean out your paperwork, shred anything that has personal information on it. Never simply throw it in the garbage. Someone could pick it up and use it in ways detrimental to you.

If you want to keep your identity safe, you need to take action, both online and offline. Be sure that you always shop securely and take extra precautions when you spend time online. Don’t fall for scams either, and review your finances regularly so that you can spot and address problems right away. Update your passwords frequently, and use antivirus software, too. Finally, always get rid of personal documents correctly. If you take these steps, you can reduce the risk that your identity will be compromised.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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