If you’ve ever thought, on a whim, that you’d be better off being someone else, then you know that there are people out there that are just as willing to be you! It might be for money reasons, or opportunity reasons, or just to mess around with your credit or permanent record, but identity theft is a pervasive topic in today’s connected world.
So what are those things that you can do, that might land you in that boat, and get your identity hacked and used for nefarious deeds? Consider the following five common pathways to lose yourself in the digital mix, including careless tax filing, risky social media behavior, bad password use, clicking on unknown links, and not shredding sensitive physical mail.
Careless Tax Filing
Your official tax forms are going to include all of your most sensitive information. Social security number, address, phone number, birthdate, employee identification numbers, locations of work – the list goes on and on. And especially if you file taxes online, all that information will be flowing over the connected web. So whenever you file any sort of taxes, be sure that tax data is going over a secure and encrypted network, at least for that specific activity!
Risky Social Media Behavior
Out on social media, nothing is private. And you might think it’s not a big deal to put one piece of information over here, and another over there, and yet another somewhere else inside a 3rd party survey of some sort. But clever hackers can piece all of those pieces of text together and use it to start hacking into your identifiable digital personality. Keep in mind that social media hacking is quite common these days.
Bad Password Use
If you use the most common passwords in 2016, you’re just asking for problems. Any hacker with a little bit of time can get access to your e-mail, social media accounts, or even into banks if you use weak passwords, and that’s where many identity thieves begin their processes.
Clicking On Unknown Links
There’s never any reason to click on unknown links these days. If it isn’t 100 percent transparent of where you’re going to and why on the internet, just don’t hit the button. Don’t hit it on your desktop, your laptop, or any mobile device. Ignore, and delete. If it’s important, the sender will either resend and explain, or use better practices themselves.
Not Shredding Sensitive Mail
And a final way that hackers can steal your identity isn’t so much digital, but rather physical. If you don’t shred your sensitive physical mail, people can look through loose garbage and find all different kinds of ways to identify you and then use that information for their own purposes.