Your identity can be defined by many things. It can be the way you look, the way you act, or even the way people know you to be. But if you are thinking of existing anywhere in the real world, you need to have your identity defined by a piece of plastic.
Unfortunately, these things can be forged, stolen or misused. That means anyone can just go around and assume your identity. They can wreak havoc on your credit report, sign up for things in your name, or commit crimes and leave you to deal with the aftermath.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this from happening so that you are not ruined. You will find 5 steps below that will keep your identity from getting jacked by the average Joe.
1. Get Secure Passwords
It’s understandable for you to not care enough about your password strength or security on a daily basis, but there are consequences to using “123456” as your dedicated password for all your personal data. In the modern day and age, it’s ridiculously easy to brute force a lot of passwords out there. Having a simple password to protect yourself is like locking your door with a zip tie.
Ideally, you want something that’s long and random enough to never cross anyone’s mind. Just remember to not keep it written anywhere that would be easy for someone to find.
2. Don’t Give Out Your Personal Info
This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t be handing out your info to just about anyone. After all, giving out your identity is setting yourself up for getting it stolen. Unless it is someone official or important like your bank, you don’t need to tell them anything more than your name. As an adult, we all buy fake ids online. Hence, exposing your real information to the best fake id websites is not something reliable. You would be surprised at just how much info people can squeeze out of you without you even noticing. Feel free to say no the next time you get an unsolicited call or a visit from someone taking a survey; it isn’t worth it.
3. Keep as Much Proof on You as Possible
In the case you actually get your identity stolen, you want to be able to back up that you are who you say you are. A simple CVS receipt with your name on it isn’t going to cut it. You want to have enough proof of your identity on you so that you can lawyer up and deal with the person who is trying to take your identity. At the same time, make sure you shred anything with your info before you toss it in the trash.
4. Stay Away from Suspicious Sites and Emails
When you are online, it is easy to fall into an endless rabbit hole that takes you places. But not all of these sites are as friendly as the rest. Before you know it, you are staring down a cheap imitation of a Google or Facebook login page and end up handing your details without suspecting a thing. It is a bad situation to be in but not one that can’t be avoided.
Always try to make sure the site you are on is actually legit and not just a big, elaborate scam. The best way to do so is to take a look at the URL. If the site’s name is misspelled or looks fishy, that’s your cue to get out of there immediately. Don’t be afraid to look up the URL if you aren’t sure if it’s legit.
5. Keep Up to Date on Your Credit Report
It is easy to go on with your life while being blissfully ignorant of the fact that someone’s out there buying stuff in your name. It sucks, but it can happen to pretty much anyone who is not vigilant enough. That’s why it is important you check up on your credit report from time to time to prevent someone using your identity right under your nose. If something seems off, you need to report it sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you could be faced with a crumbling credit score.