These are just a handful of ways you can protect yourself against identity theft.
Most of these are common sense. A few of these are more strategic based on our experience with a stalker who certainly used some of these from time to time for full on identity theft to bullying and torment of knowing that someone who essentially wants to cause you harm can at any time with your personal information.
Shred… Shred… Shred your Documents
It will be the best $40 you ever spent at Target to protect yourself. Get a paper shredder and keep it where you process mail and your documentation for convenience. There are plenty of creepy people out there and they love going through your trash.
Protect Your SSN
A no-brainer I know but there are several ways to cover your tracks especially online with this one.
- Clean out your browser history, regularly… I mean daily, and if you are on the computer most of the day then more than one time.
- Use a VPN service if possible with your Internet service. It will provide an extra layer of protection against identity theft and any online stalking you may encounter.
- Do keep paperwork like SSN cards and passports in a secured location.
Be Aware of Phishing Scams
This sounds like an easy one but even though we have all had a rich unknown Nigerian Uncle wanting to leave us 40 Million Pounds (British Sterling of course) and all they need is our bank details to complete the transfer… Things have evolved a bit to include these lovely examples;
- Texts from unknown sources claiming you have won a contest, lottery or there is a job offer for you. Delete and block ALL of these. DO NOT CLICK on strange links.
- Emails coming from your bank, Insurance companies, healthcare groups unless you specifically asked for them DON’T click on anything in these unless you know they are coming and it is for a specific reason. Typically, these companies don’t email you unless there is a specific reason which includes you asking for something. See the above response – Delete and report these messages as SPAM.
- Robo calls – Ok, you know you are having a day when the SPAM caller gets snarky with you for getting snarky with them for being a SPAM caller. Hang up and block the number. If you have time on your hands report it to the FCC. They are likely using a number skimmer to skim numbers across the web as a protection against their real phone details based in Russia.
Monitor Your Bank Statements Regularly
Aside form the good sense of this, checking your banking statement will show any strange charges. One scam I was aware of is where a fraudster will make small charges on your account which can look like verification charges of a few pennies here and there.
This serves to ping your account for validity to process electronic transactions, and let’s any fraudsters know if any red flags are automatically raised. Plus this process also shows to see how much time passes before you notice, if you notice the transactions.
Then one day a few months from now larger charges may be made of they may keep the charges small. The point is if you are monitoring your accounts you can report them. Most banks have better technology these days (mine is militant, and I love them for it!)
This also goes for monitoring credit reports regularly.
Secure and Guard your Phone
Having lived through this very special circle of hell directly, I can attest to this. When someone has cloned your SIM card and hacked your Google account it is possible you won’t know right away.
Lucky for us the software they were using was cheap and filled with bugs so the poor performance on the phone, duplicate blue dots and easily seen multiple IP addresses gave us plenty of ammo to learn more about our stalkers.
- Spend the $9.99 for a good anti-malware software on your phone. AVG is good and there are a zillion others out there as well.
- Watch network settings and avoid public networks and Wifi Hotspots.
- Use the security features on your phone. many newer phones have them. Find one you like or can tolerate and get used and use it.
Unlucky for us we had to deal with this at all… Hopefully these tips will help you protect your self and your loved ones from having to live through the nightmare that we did.