How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Each year thousands of Canadians fall victim to identity theft. This article will look at what identity theft is and how to protect yourself against it.

Identity Theft

What’s Identity Theft?

Identity theft is when someone intentionally uses your identity, typically for monetary gain. Identity theft can occur in many different ways. It could be someone stealing your mail or hacking into your phone via public Wi-Fi.

Once someone has a hold of your identity, they can do a lot of damage. They could use your identity to borrow money and abscond with it. This can leave you on the hook for debts and ruin your credit.

The bottom line is that it’s not a fun situation to be in, so it’s best to do everything you can to avoid it in the first place.

Now that you understand what identity theft is, let’s look at ways to protect yourself from it.

Secure Your Mail

If you have a mailbox sitting on the outside of your house, you could be the victim of identity theft at any time. An easy way to protect yourself is to install a mailbox with a lock and key.

A lock and key act as a deterrent for those trying to commit identity theft. Sure, someone could probably still break into a mailbox with a lock and key if they wanted to. However, they will probably choose to target another house with an open mailbox without a lock and key.

With many Canadians working from home these days, as soon as you hear the mail arrive, you can collect it right away. That way, the thief has less time to try to steal your personal data.

Finally, you could decide to skip the mailbox altogether and go with the ultra-simple solution of a mail slot through your front door. It does the job and prevents the mail from easily being taken from a standalone mailbox.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

When possible, try to avoid using public Wi-Fi. It’s OK to use public Wi-Fi for a quick Google search; however, you should avoid using it for anything that leaves you open to identity theft. It’s best to avoid using public Wi-Fi to check your email. You should never use public Wi-Fi to share your credit card information or log in to your bank account. This is like asking for trouble.
It’s better to use secure Wi-Fi with a password to access personal information. This makes it harder for data thieves to steal your personal information and use it for financial gain.

If possible, only use the data on your phone to access personal information. This is the way that you can keep yourself the most secure.

Regularly Monitor Your Credit

It’s a good idea to monitor your credit regularly. Not only is this helpful to see if your credit score is trending in the right direction, but you can also see if someone is trying to use your credit by stealing your identity.

When reading your credit report, you should look for credit accounts and credit inquiries that you don’t recognize. As soon as you see something you don’t know, report it right away to the credit bureaus, Equifax and TransUnion. This can stop someone from doing too much damage to your credit.

The Bottom Line

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