How to Protect Your Identity in the New Year
As you spend more time online in the year to come, it’s important you safeguard your identity, especially when it comes to financial data.
You can’t always guess what’s in store for a new year. Just think back to this time last year. You likely had no idea that the coronavirus pandemic would sweep the world and enact lockdown measures that kept you at home.
However, with no vaccine yet available, you can make a pretty good guess of what you’ll be doing in the next few months. Stuck at home, with movie theatres closed and restaurants out of business, you’ll live out your life on the Internet.
If so, here’s a chance to brush up on your digital security. A subtle change in your digital habits can prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud.
What is Fraud?
Fraud is when a criminal poses as you for their financial gain. They do it by stealing confidential information about you — things like your name, address, national insurance number, and banking info.
With only a handful of these details, a criminal has the keys to your finances. They could drain your savings and max out your credit cards.
What’s worse, they also have what it takes to open new payday loans and lines of credit in your name. As you can see from this resource on small payday loans online, these short-term loans come with high-interest rates and a short turnover. It would take no time at all for a criminal to rack up serious charges in your name on top of what they borrowed.
How to Protect Your Identity Online
According to Equifax UK, more than half of the public is worried about identity fraud. But the chances you’ll be exposed to fraud decrease when you follow these tips.
Around 30 percent of people using social media have no idea that the data they share leaves them vulnerable to crime. Your location, family and pet names, and other details can be available with just a click, giving criminals a quick look into your lives and making it easier to crack your accounts.
Keep these personal stories off your accounts. While a cybercriminal can still hack into an account using brute force, it’s unlikely when other people pose as easier targets.
Your inbox is a minefield of spam. To ensure you don’t accidentally click a predatory link, always hover your mouse over anything you plan on clicking. This shows you the destination or hyperlink. If you don’t recognize the domain, don’t click it.
Passwords were so 2020. In 2021, embrace the passphrase.
A passphrase is a short sentence that serves as your login credentials rather than a single word or string of numbers. This makes it easier to remember but harder to crack. Here’s why:
People tend to use passwords that are based on important dates and names in their lives. Anyone with a passing knowledge of an individual can reasonably guess these numbers and words.
Passphrases, on the other hand, include unrelated words that are too unique to be easily hacked. Take “wildcard lushness yanking fleshed,” a passphrase generated by the website useapassphrase.com.Fraudsters would need more than 3.5 trillion centuries to hack it.
Don’t Repeat Passphrases
Now, sometimes you don’t expose your data, but your personal information still gets exposed in a data breach. To limit the damage to the account exposed, always use a unique passphrase for each account.
The Internet has taken some of the stings out of stay-at-home orders, but it does open you to the increased risk of fraud. If you hit the web to pass the time in the new year, make sure you do it safely. Remember these tips to safeguard your data.