If identity theft sounds like something rare which doesn’t happen to people like you, you’d better think again. We no longer live in a world in which someone needs to find your lost identity documents to steal your identity.
Get the Free Tracker App to find a SNES Classic in Stock
Now, with some basic hacking techniques, identity theft is not all that difficult. Most people are not adequately prepared for it, and companies we trust can also let us down.
It’s important for you to be protected against identity theft, and so you’ll need to know the shocking realities. For protection, you should read up on the Best Online Reviews of VPNs, password managers, and more.
It’s very common
In 2016, over 15 million people were affected by identity theft in the U.S. alone. Their details were stolen mainly from online sources. And no wonder. It is remarkably easy to track someone using just their IP address, which is broadcast whenever you’re online.
That same year, it cost consumers over $16 billion. Identity theft is costly, even in the less severe cases. In more severe cases, it will not only cost you a dollar value. Your reputation, including your credit history, are at risk. If someone uses your personal details to get credit and then never pays it back, you could be unable to get a credit of your own in future. It can affect your ability to rent from respectable landlords and may even come up in a background search when interviewing for a new job.
You don’t have complete control
Unfortunately, one of the worst realities of identity theft is that you alone cannot prevent it. In 2017, credit checking company Equifax was hacked, putting hundreds of millions of Americans at risk of identity theft. A similar thing happened in South Africa within a few months.
This did not bode well for Equifax’s future, and they are facing consequences (in terms of trust lost alone) but that does not help you. Once the cat is out of the bag, it’s very hard to put it back in. Your information might be out there, and you have to be on the lookout for any unusual activity in your name.
You can protect yourself
At the same time, this does not mean you should not take steps to protect yourself. While it’s not all in your hands, you can do your bit to stop your information from getting out. By using a VPN, you can hide your location and encrypt your data while you’re online. Using a password manager lets you create very complex passwords without worrying about forgetting them.
These services can cost a bit of money, although there are free options. In any case, spending $10 or so a month on protecting your identity is well worth it. As we spend more and more time online, the rates of identity theft will only rise. It could cost you heavily, so make sure to look out for your own protection.