If there is one thing identity thieves are known for it’s their ability to see opportunity everywhere.
While many of us were taking measures to uphold safety measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, fraudsters were concocting plans to take advantage of us! As upsetting as it is to hear, it’s true.
For instance, according to an article written by Johnson Insurance, “COVID-19 has created new avenues for identity theft – including applications for the CERB in the name of an identity theft victim.” Nevertheless, it isn’t just the CERB benefit fraudsters are exploiting.
Eliminate the following habits that make you vulnerable to identity theft as part of your new year’s resolutions:
1. Stop using the same password for everything.
Living through a lockdown means we are all spending a lot of time at home and even more time on the internet. Not only are we scrolling through our regular apps, but we are downloading new ones. As such, we are in need of more logins. Using the same password for all your apps, online shopping, and any other sensitive online resources (e.g. banking) will make you more susceptible to identity theft. Instead, use a password generator to protect your personal information.
Safety investment tip: Try 1Password to generate, store, and manage your passwords. It’s available for desktops and as a cellphone app for families and businesses.
2. Stop throwing that important document into the trash.
With more people working from home due to the pandemic, work-related documents are more likely to end up in residential recycling or garbage bins. Keep in mind, simply throwing these documents into the trash isn’t something you would do at work. Often, employers will use a shredding service to safely dispose of the documents. These safety precautions shouldn’t disappear just because you are at home. If you don’t have a home shredder, be sure to talk to your employer about what you can do to maintain everyone’s security.
3. Online shopping.
Being at home all the time means more opportunity to pass the time with a little retail therapy. In fact, with so many businesses having to close their doors, many have turned to ecommerce. What does that mean for the consumer? Well, there are a lot more online shops to browse. The danger – fraudsters can pose as fake online pop-up shops in an effort to gain your personal information. Here’s what you can do: only visit trusted sites, don’t click on suspicious links, read online reviews, limit the number of credit cards, and check your statements and credit reports.
Adjusting these three habits are a good starting point, but it doesn’t end there. Unfortunately, fraudsters are vigilant in their efforts to exploit your personal information. Do you best to keep abreast of what schemes these criminals are up to and keep your personal information personal!