One of the most serious consequences of poor data security is identity theft. Identity theft occurs when somebody uses your personal information to impersonate you, usually with the goal of stealing money. Debit card details, PPS numbers, online passwords, all of these and more can leave you exposed unless you take the appropriate steps to protect yourself. Identity theft can mean your bank account being drained, new loans taken out in your name, tax benefits stolen and a whole host of other problems. Worst of all, identity thieves often go unnoticed and can take advantage of their victims for long stretches of time without being interrupted. The good news is that you can largely prevent identity theft. By taking a few smart, simple steps, you can lower the risks for yourself and your business. So, here’s Pulp’s 5 ways to prevent identity theft:
1. Cards and Bank Statements
Remember, most fraudsters are after one thing: money. The most direct way for them to do this is through your debit/credit card details. Never disclose your PIN or share images of your card online. However, even when you take all the necessary precautions, your card could become compromised. Always keep an eye on your banking app as well as your statements for any unusual activity. Remaining vigilant and identifying malfeasance is the hard part, thankfully, putting a stop to it is relatively simple. Most banking apps these days allow you to quickly freeze your cards at the touch of a button. After this, contact your bank to have the card(s) cancelled.
2. Secure Important Documents
All of us have important documents with confidential information. Birth certificates, passports, bank statements, etc. All of these documents contain information that identity thieves can use to steal money or otherwise harm you. Therefore, you must ensure that they are safe and secure, or go paperless altogether. A safe, locked filing cabinet, or desk drawer are common places to store such documents. Not only does this make them more secure, it also makes it easier for you to keep track of them. The only thing worse than losing your passport is losing it and being unaware of the fact. It’s impossible to prevent all identity theft, but the quicker you find out, the easier it is to fix the situation.
3. Shred to Prevent Identity Theft
You don’t have to keep a document just because it contains confidential information. Old documents can become obselete, and clutter up your filing cabinet. However, if you do decide to dispose of them, you must shred them first. Destroying the document this way ensures that the data won’t fall into the wrong hands. when you shred to prevent identity theft, the quality of the shredder can have a huge impact on the risk. Many shredders tear the paper into strips which can be easily reassembled. That’s why we recommend using Pulp’s confidential shredding service to dispose of paper. Our industrial-grade, mobile shredding trucks are the most secure, fail-safe way to destroy documents.
4. Improve Passwords
Your online passwords are often the only difference between your personal information and scammers. Despite this, many people use insecure or inadequate passwords when navigating online. Here are two ways to improve the security of your passwords: Firstly, make them long and complex, with lots of numbers and special characters. Secondly, don’t use the same password for every site or service. This will make it much harder for hackers or identity thieves to access your personal information.
5. Safeguard Your Phone
Your mobile phone is the holy grail for an identity thief. As time passes, smartphones are becoming more and more central to our lives. We use them to store everything, from personal documents, emails, and passwords. These days, it is common to bank on your phone and even to use it to pay instead of a debit card. The importance of securing your phone cannot be overstated. Using biometric security such as a fingerprint scanner is far more secure than a four-digit pin code.
Prevent Identity Theft
Unfortunately, there are many avenues for potential identity thieves, especially on the internet. However, we can do much to protect ourselves, and most of these steps are relatively easy to implement. Confidential shredding is an essential means for Irish businesses to maintain data security. Contact us today to find out more, whether you need a one off or a regular shredding service.