How Secure is Your Information Online and How to Protect Yourself From Online Scams
Identity theft is quickly becoming an Internet epidemic. According to research institute Statistics Brain, there are more than 12 million identity theft victims in the United States every year, with each one losing an average of $5000 per incident. What’s more, the FBI considers identity theft “a danger to national security and private citizens alike.”
The convenience of online banking, social media and e-commerce, however, means that consumers and companies will continue to offer personal information in exchange for access — how can users ensure that their data is safe online, and take real steps to prevent identity theft?
Lowering The Risk
The first step in keeping your online data safe? Share only the bare minimum. Does a company really need your physical address and date of birth, or are these optional questions designed to assist marketing efforts? Keep as much data as close to the chest as possible — this means even if hackers do attempt Internet identity theft, they won’t get far with what you’ve provided.
It’s also important to regularly change your passwords at all online retailers along with social media and email accounts. Ideally, aim for every six months and follow a few simple guidelines: Never use your name, date of birth or address as part of the password. Don’t use strings of repeated characters or often-used variants such as “password123.” Most importantly, never use the same password for more than one site — if fraudsters get their hands on your data, the first thing they’ll try is logging into multiple sites to see if you’ve made this mistake.
For many companies and business users, the trail of online personal information, websites and access points is simply too complex to handle without help. This is where the services of a trusted private investigations firm can close the gap.
It starts with an assessment of your current identity practices along with recommendations on how you can lower the chances of being victimized. Common identity fraud protections include limiting access to social media profiles, never saving credit card data online, and always having a physical copy of identification and other critical documents securely stored in the event of an ID theft attempt.
Private services can also launch identity theft investigations if you are compromised and need to discover what’s happened and how it will impact your life in the long term. Consider the large number of Americans who had their identity compromised earlier this year, thanks to a vulnerability in the IRS’ “Get Transcript” service. PI firms can help track how your information is being stored for fraudulent tax returns and help mitigate the impact of false credit card applications or online purchases.
In some cases, your identity theft has a specific source: Perhaps a former employee, spouse or competitor. At Arkus Investigators, we’ve invested in a sophisticated suite of computer forensics tools to search for damning information, retrieve it and safeguard it in such a way that you’re able to build a solid case.
Want to prevent identity theft? Be wary when it comes to giving personal information. Need help securing your data or tracking identity thieves? Call Arkus today, and take back your life.