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Is your personal information at risk of being stolen? Here are five red flags to look out for.

Since the mid-1990s, when the internet exploded, the risks of identity theft and fraud have skyrocketed. While anxieties were expressed as online payment systems became more prevalent, online retailers popped up, and the internet became more integrated into the fabric of life and society, the risk has actually increased.

Who is at risk of having their identity stolen? Is it true that children who grew up with the internet are more aware of the dangers, or are silver surfers more jaded and distrustful? How can you know if your identity is about to be stolen?

Some people are more at risk than others.

Identity theft is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. People have claimed to be someone they are not throughout history in order to get a financial advantage. Identity theft and the ensuing fraud (and, in some cases, extortion) have become an industrialized kind of fraud in recent years, with criminal gangs maintaining divisions dedicated to identity theft and the fraud (and, in some cases, extortion) that comes with it.

The risk of identity theft, on the other hand, is not equal. If you can keep your identity under control, it won’t be stolen. If your identity isn’t taken, fraud cannot be done in your name.

As a result, you must avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, some people are more susceptible to identity theft than others. Here are five telltale indicators that you may be a victim of identity theft.

1. You don’t check credit card or bank statements

You take up the envelope from the letter box, but you don’t open it to see what’s inside. It’s a bank or credit card statement, after all. You know what you bought, how much you spent on your credit card, and what bills you paid.

There is no need to double-check.

Except… there’s a good reason to verify if your credit card has been cloned. After all, you wouldn’t be aware of the fraud unless you checked your credit card statement. And you won’t find out about someone taking out a loan in your name and making monthly payments from your bank account unless you check your bank statement.

2. You use the same username and easy to remember password on every account.

Isn’t it much more convenient to use the same login and password for all of your accounts?

After all, passwords are notoriously difficult to remember. Why complicate things by using many passwords and PINs when you can just use one?

Someone who discovers your password can easily access all of your data if you use the same password for all of your accounts. Your single password gives you access to cloud accounts, email, and social media. Additional information may be required by banks and credit card companies, but if a scammer has your credentials for everything else, they have enough information to impersonate you over the phone.

3. You have never checked your credit report

Do you believe your credit report is only for specific events such as loan and mortgage applications? Do you think it’s solely for banks and loan companies?

You won’t be able to see how your data is compiled if you’ve never read your credit report. You won’t be able to see how the accounts are paid off month by month or what credit checks have been run. Have you recently purchased a new phone? A credit check will be required by the phone company. Have you ever repaid a loan? This will also be listed here.

Has a stranger used your name to apply for credit in your name? If you haven’t examined your credit record, you won’t know. It’s time to join up for Experian  or other comparable services to gain access to the report and review it on a monthly basis.

You click the link if someone sends you an SMS or email out of the blue asking you to double-check your login credentials, right? After all, if you can prevent it, you don’t want to have to update that password.

Scammers who use the internet to steal identities have devised a cunning technique of exploiting this desire to click. They send communications posing as your bank, mortgage business, credit card firm, PayPal, eBay, or Amazon. The email is designed with a suitable logo and typeface to help you trust it.

A request to check your account data by clicking a link and entering your username and password is included in the email body. But, of course, it’s a ruse: the login and password don’t mean anything; they’re saved in a database, along with any other information on the phony website.

Have you ever heard of the term “oversharing”? It’s when you tell the entire world about your life (e.g., on Facebook). Food photos, bus thoughts, where you are, where you were, and who you are with.

Identity thieves can use this information to develop a profile of you. They may, for example, mug you, steal your phone and handbag, gather the information they require, and impersonate you to obtain a line of credit. They could also use it to follow you out of the house before breaking in and stealing your banking information.

While social networking is entertaining, sharing everything is risky. Be more discreet, share the wonderful times with a small group of pals, and keep the information of when and where to a minimum. Disable “check-in” functions and keep your friend list as little as possible.

Counter your risky behaviours

Other red flags could include keeping your social security (US) or National Insurance (UK) numbers in your wallet or neglecting to safeguard your bank statements where visitors cannot access them.

However, you should be aware of the dangers by now. It’s not enough to believe “they won’t get me” to avoid identity theft. Instead, responsible behavior is necessary, as is an understanding of the relevance of your financial status.

Having your identity stolen may be a life-changing experience. It’s one you should definitely avoid. Fortunately, it’s also one that you can avoid by avoiding common blunders and learning new identity-protecting practices.

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Written by Fidelis

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