There are few issues more serious and prevalent than identity theft. These days, identity theft has become more widespread due to a downtrodden economic time. Major computer advances and the boom of the internet have made identity theft easier than ever, with myriads of sites set up as scams to take an unknowing victim for hundreds or even thousand of dollars. Losing one’s identity can be a devastating occurrence and it can take years to fully recover from identity theft.
Identity thieves are always trying to stay a step ahead of theft protection devices and software, but it is an ongoing battle. When the protection defenses improve, then the thieves and hackers find new ways around; as the thieves and hackers improve, security defenses are improved and tightened. Online safety is crucial to keeping an identity protected.
There are steps and precautions that everyday consumers can take to help prevent their own identities from theft. Nearly every task can be completed online nowadays; from paying bills to checking bank statements to ordering groceries, we now have the convenience of being able to complete a day’s worth of errands without ever leaving the house. The problem, though, is that this means more information is being shared over the internet, making it available for thieves if it is not protected.
One of the simplest steps a consumer can take is to be aware of what sites they are using. Website URLs always begin with “http.” If it is a secure site, however, it begins with “https” instead. The “s” means it is a secure site and information shared over that site is more protected than on sites without the “s.” When sharing personal information online- especially information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, or pin numbers-it is imperative to check and ensure that the website URL begins with “https”.
Being aware of email procedures is another great step to take in the prevention of identity theft. If an email is sent from a bank or financial institution asking to log on because of a problem, this is usually a scam and no link in the email should ever be clicked. The majority of banks and financial institutions, well aware of the scams that occur, never put any links in their emails. This is one key to knowing that an email is fraud- if it requests clicking a link and entering personal information, it is most likely a scam.
Identity theft is a serious issue, one that should not be taken lightly. New scams are being developed almost every day, and as the scam artists get better, consumers need to get wiser. Taking the aforementioned precautions will help keep online information secure and help prevent identity theft.