Preventing Identity Theft: Strategies to Keep Your Personal Information Safe

Preventing Identity Theft: Strategies to Keep Your Personal Information Safe

  April 25, 2023

Written by – Zeynep Ertas, SEB Marketing team

Identity theft has become an increasing concern for Canadians, with cyber criminals continuously devising more sophisticated means to access personal information. The consequences of identity theft can be dire, from financial loss to significant harm to one’s reputation. Adopting proactive measures to safeguard yourself from identity theft is critical. Fortunately, you can take preventive steps that can reduce the impact if it does occur. This article will delve into how you can protect yourself from identity theft.

  • Protect Your Personal Information 
    One of the most effective strategies for preventing identity theft is to protect your personal information, such as your name, birth date, social security number, credit card details, and other sensitive data. Exercise caution when providing such information, particularly with unsolicited requests or phishing scams.
  • Stay Alert for Scams and Phishing Emails
    Scammers and fraudsters employ various tactics to gain access to your personal information, such as phishing emails, phone calls, and bogus websites. Beware of unsolicited emails, phone calls, or texts asking for personal or financial information. Always verify the legitimacy of the sender before disclosing any sensitive information.
  • Use Robust Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
    Strong passwords and two-factor authentication can significantly reduce identity theft risk. Create unique and complex passwords that are hard to guess and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Two-factor authentication (2FA) provides additional security to your accounts, requiring a second authentication form, such as a code or fingerprint, before accessing your account. If two-factor authentication is offered by an application, it’s highly recommended that you take advantage of this to increase your account’s security.
  • Monitor Your Bank Statements and Credit Report
    Monitoring your credit report and bank statements on a regular basis can help you detect any suspicious activity and prevent identity theft. Check your credit report annually and watch for inaccuracies or unfamiliar accounts. Scrutinize your bank statements and credit card transactions frequently, and immediately report any suspicious activity. You can check your credit score a number of ways. One way is by contacting one of the two major credit bureaus TransUnion or Equifax.
  • Secure Your Devices and Networks
    Ensure that your devices and networks are secure by using antivirus software, firewalls, and other security measures. Keep your operating systems and software up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Exercise caution when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, as they may not be secure and could potentially expose your personal information to cybercriminals.

In summary, preventing identity theft requires vigilance and proactive measures. You can significantly reduce the risk of identity theft by protecting your personal information, staying alert for scams and phishing emails, using robust passwords and two-factor authentication, monitoring your bank statements and credit report, and securing your devices and networks. Remain informed about the latest safe practices and take action to protect yourself from this growing threat.