According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book in 2017, there were over 2.7 million reports in the United States alone dealing with debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams. Also, the credit card fraud by identity theft increased by 23% in the past few years.
Other trustworthy publications claimed that Americans are significantly more likely to become the victims of identity theft and that around 143 million Americans face a high risk for this crime.
So what can you do in a world ruled by credit cards, social media accounts, and apps on your phone asking for permission to store sensitive data about you? Here are some tips you should take into account.
Protect your phone
Since your smartphone is most likely to contain highly sensitive data and information about you, it’s mandatory to keep it safe at all times. Most smartphones are harder to hack nowadays because they require a fingerprint or other personal identification methods to unblock them.
Avoid the four-digit code that can be hacked relatively easy and replace it with a retina scan or face scan. These authentication elements are almost impossible to hack, which means all your data stored in your phone is protected.
Don’t forget that you also have the possibility of blocking some of your apps on your phone from curious eyes by adding security codes or fingerprint authentication. We advise you to apply this method to your gallery, online banking apps, email addresses, and social media accounts.
Never save your passwords
If you don’t want to be the victim of Internet pirates and hackers, the best way to stay protected is to never have your passwords saved. It takes a little more time to constantly log in with your username and password for your social media accounts or emails, but it is the safest way.
This is especially important if you’re using a work computer or share a computer with another person.
Use various passwords
According to studies, over 40% of the Americans have the same password on all their accounts, and only 5% of the population uses three of four different passwords for their accounts. It may be hard remembering more than two passwords, but this piece of advice should be taken seriously, especially by those who bring their work on their phones too.
If you’re using an email address for work and another one for everything else, it is best to have two separate passwords. Apart from that, you definitely need to have a unique password for your Internet banking. If this is not possible, at least opt for the two-step authentication routine that implies using a password and a unique code sent on your phone or email address.
Have separate cards for online shopping
In the 21st century, you can easily get everything you need without even leaving the house. All you have to do is go online and search for the products you want and have them delivered directly to your home. If online shopping is a passion or a necessity for you, the easiest way to protect against hackers is to have a separate credit or debit card.
Establish a monthly amount of money you are willing to use for your Internet shopping and put it on a separate debit card. This way, even if your accounts are hacked, or your identity is stolen, the hackers won’t cash out large sums of money. This is also a great method to get a hold on all your spending and even put aside some every month.
What about contactless cards?
Contactless cards are a great invention of the past few years as they allow you to pay for your groceries without having to introduce your PIN number. Unfortunately, it is also an easy way for hackers to get your card information and then purchase goods or withdraw money from your account on your behalf.
Some banks have imposed a limited amount of money you can use on your contactless card without having to introduce your PIN number, but if you don’t have this option on your card, it is best to forget about it.
If you still want to be able to make payments fast and easy, at least keep your card safe in special wallets and pants. These come with a safety pocket that won’t allow hackers to clone your card or get a hold on your data.