Identity theft is a common nightmare that any person could experience. Any individual, business, or government agency that runs their services online can face it at any time. You should know those identity thieves are the people behind this crime and they commit acts like stealing or using other people’s identity to access your personal details or financial interests.
In the U.S. alone, the cases of identity theft are rising. In the coming years, it will increase further. Globally, identity theft is also on the rise and that’s why it’s highly important to educate people about it and guide them on how they can secure themselves from such criminals. According to an identity fraud study conducted in 2016, identity thieves stole over $15 billion from 13 million consumers in 2015.
Identity Theft and How They Commit Fraud
Identity thieves or hackers could obtain personal details through numerous ways:
· They could use the internet to obtain your personal details, access credit card accounts with your name, password, email, and banking login.
· They can create clones or duplicates of our credit card and use it online to purchase things.
· Some use harmful malware programs on your computer/laptop. These could record your strokes on the keyboard and the sites you visit on your browser. With malware, they can unlock your passwords and easily access online accounts.
· Some obtain your social security number and impersonate you to obtain insurance, apply for property purchases, and bank loans, which eventually you will have to pay up.
· Some use “ransomware” virus, which encrypts the files on your computer. The only way to decrypt the files is when you pay a ransom to them.
· When you connect your mobile or phone to a public Wi-Fi or one at home without a good security, hackers could gain access to your phone and connect to the files on your device. Eventually, stealing your personal details.
How Can You Keep Your Computer/Laptop Safe from Identity Theft?
Let’s consider some simple steps that you can take to ensure your laptop remains safe from identity theft.
1. Add Encryption
Most people think that enabling a password on their computer can keep them safe from hackers. This isn’t true! Identity thieve can simply remove your drive and plug it right into their system. They can easily transfer your files onto their device. A good solution for you is to use encryption.
Encryption means to protect your data with extra security. Some forms include single file and multi-folder encryption to keep users away from your personal data.
2. Use Biometric Authentication
To keep your data safe, you can use smart authentication methods like identifying fingerprints or face. Windows 10 devices use Windows Hello function for this.
3. Check Your Browser Settings
Most browsers auto-save emails, passwords, and usernames. Most people choose not to disable this, but it is best that you disable it. If you don’t disable this and a hacker steals your laptop, they could simply load your browser and steal useful information from your browser.
4. Keep Anti Viruses/Malware Software Up-to-Date
It is important that you keep the security software in your computer up-to-date. Regular updates help to ensure that your data remains safe from malware, hacking, and viruses that facilitate identity theft.
5. Add a Password on your Wi-Fi Connection
Hackers or identity thieves can use wireless connection to hack into devices or computers. If you don’t encrypt this, your Wi-Fi could serve as a spy tool for hackers. If you use free Wi-Fi in public places like hotels, airports, and coffee shops, ensure that you add passwords on all your financial account details.
Our business or personal identity is an integral part of our life. Exposing valuable detail to criminals can have serious effects that could damage your life. However, with the right knowledge on how to keep your computer/laptop safe, you can keep hackers or identity thieves away at all times!
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