Data protection is so important nowadays. The government, major corporations, small-town businesses, and individuals are all at risk of having important information stolen from them.
On the individual level, identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the United States. Approximately 15 million U.S. citizens have their identities stolen every year, with financial losses amounting to more than $50 billion. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there is a one-in-33 chance you’ll have your identity stolen over the next year.
That’s why it’s so important to do everything possible to prevent this crime from happening to you. If identity thieves get ahold of your social security number, credit card information, personal details, or all of the above, they can ruin your life in the time it takes to make a purchase on Amazon.
If you’re interested in data protection and stopping identity theft, here are a few important things to remember:
- Data Protection and Backup — Safely storing all your digital files is non-optional in 2016. Not only will this protect your data from cyber criminals, but it will also act as a data recovery failsafe. For extra protection, make sure to have a security program installed on your computer to block potential hackers.
- Computer Anti Virus Protection — A great way to secure your computer from potential criminals accessing your files is a virus protection program. Hackers can get to your secured information through computer viruses that can easily spread to families and friends if you’re not careful.
- Don’t Carry Your Social Security Card — Identity theft criminals are just that — criminals. So they won’t have any issue grabbing your wallet and snatching your SSN. Make sure your card and all your other essential documents are locked away safely in your home.
- Be Careful Who You’re Communicating With — Criminals will try creative ways to get you to give out personal information. They’ll call and pretend to be law enforcement, inform you that you are a contest winner, send urgent emails pretending to be your bank, and do all kinds of dirty tricks. No matter what, never give out any personal information over the phone or online unless you are 100% positive you’re dealing with a legitimate organization.
- Regularly Monitor Finances — Don’t go months without checking your bank statements and your account activity. If you notice any strange financial activity, you should immediately address the issue. Don’t wait before it’s too late and you lose a lot of money.
- Shred Important Documents — Old credit cards and other financial documents should never be thrown out with the garbage. Sadly, some of these criminals will dig through garbage bins to find those documents. Shred all old cards and financial information before they do.