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What Steps Have You Taken To Prevent Identity Theft?

Having our website or blog hacked by some lowlife scum would have to be one of our greatest fears. There are many ways that they could do this including placing malicious code on the blog, linking to sites of disrepute or horror of horrors corrupting the database causing us to lose everything. All that hard work gone to waste! There is something that is so much worse though and unfortunately the Internet has increased this problem astronomically. Of course I am talking about identity theft and this problem is so huge that an industry has grown around identity theft protection. While I’ve talked so much about this on one of my other blogs those posts can only serve as a warning to others. Unfortunately warnings may not be enough and perhaps for some people it would probably be best to be more proactive by taking advantage of sites such as IdentityHawk. Almost anyone is at risk of identity theft especially those who spend a lot of time on the internet. Unfortunately for the average person you have no way of knowing if you have been compromised until its too late. According to the guys at IdentityHawk they offer service that differs from others in that where others inform you after you’ve been targeted they can prevent it from ever happening. There are certain things that you can do to prevent identity theft and these include.

  • Do not throw anything in the bin that has personal information, especially thingsPhishing Effect like bank statements and bills etc. Paper shredders are quite cheap these days and having one would be a great investment.
  • Do not give any personal information over the phone. There are many scam artists out there pretending to be someone they’re not just to trick you into telling them your details.
  • Make sure when using ATM machines that no-one is looking over your shoulders.
  • Do not sell or give away your old computer before wiping everything on it.
  • Do not fall prey to emails that tell you some account or other has been compromised and that you have to log on via the link in the email to confirm your details. These emails are known as phishing emails and their purpose is to solicit your personal information from you.

There are a lot of things that you can and should do to protect your identity, both online and offline and I would love it if you would share with us some of the steps you have taken to protect your identity!

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Hackers are getting very smart these days. Their social engineering skills can trick almost everyone. For my blogs i always back them up (every 3 days). For my personal info i use many spyware protection software together (to prevent phishing and hijacking). My passwords are so long and complex. I don’t give anyone anything and i don’t open emails of people i don’t know. I know that this is probably not enough, but that’s what i’m doing right now.

    1. Edgar, as long as you’re doing something that’s better than not doing anything at all. The problem is that there are so many people vulnerable to identity theft because they don’t even know the problem exists.
      Sire recently posted…WordPress Tutorials For The New UserMy Profile

  2. I shred all my bills and anything with personal information. For bank statements, I have switched to electronic copies so I don’t receive those in the mail anymore. I have even switch to electronic copies of my bills as well.

    For my computers, I use both a hardware and software firewall, and keep my anti-malware applications updated. I create unique long (10+ characters), strong passwords for each site I register with, so if a hacker was to get one password, they couldn’t use it on another site.
    Paul Salmon recently posted…Traffic Stats: July 2011My Profile

    1. Hi Paul,

      having cryptic passwords is essential and I use a password manager to keep track of them. I reckon a lot of people either use the same password or easy to remember ones because it’s all too hard to do otherwise. Too bad that this could bite them in the arse if they are unlucky.
      Sire recently posted…Blogging Like Life Is All About ChoicesMy Profile

  3. Twitter:
    Years ago I purchased a new 100GB hard drive for my laptop. Back in the hotel I went to install it, even though there was a note in the box saying only Comp USA should install it; phooey. When I went to turn the laptop on it booted up and already had an operating system on it. Turned out to be a 20GB drive with some guy’s information already on it. I know because I called him up and talked to him about it. Said he’d bought a new laptop and threw that one away at a landfill, but didn’t know anything about wiping his drive first. Had I been unscrupulous I’d have used all his personal info for nefarious stuff. Instead I called the attorney general for the state because I didn’t get what I had paid for; what a mess!

    So yes, people do need to be cautious with their stuff.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Why Is Everyone Busting On A-Listers?My Profile

    1. So instead of selling you a new 100GB drive they sold you an old 20GB that they fished out of the dump? :guns_tb:

      So what happened, did you get your money back and what happened to the turkeys that sold it to you?
      Sire recently posted…Installing A Custom Header On Your WordPress BlogMy Profile

      1. Twitter:
        I took it back, got my brand new drive, didn’t get my money back or anything else, still reported them to the attorney general. They were sneaky though; I filled out my complaint paper and they were supposed to give me a copy of it but wouldn’t. Less than a year later all Comp USA’s pulled out of the state and pretty much the country and that was that. Punks!
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…The Water ExperimentMy Profile

        1. Oh well, at least you got the proper drive Mitch. Still reckon the whole episode was a pain in the ass though.

  4. Most fraudsters are after your money and you may be unaware that they have gained access to your bank account. This happened to me when my debit card details were copied whilst using a cash machine at a holiday resort. If you have online banking I suggest you check your bank transactions daily to ensure that all money leaving your account has been authorised by you.

    1. Great point Chris! People who don’t do that regularly may find their account seriously deplete when they finally do go online or when they get their statement in the mail.
      Sire recently posted…WordPress Tutorials For The New UserMy Profile

  5. It’s really easy to make fake profiles on the net and that can be guite bad if you have online reputation that you have to take care of. People can put your pictures on it from facebook and other media if you are not carefull. Those false online profiles are pretty hard to get off the net from all the social platforms.

    1. Yeah, fake profiles and fake internet sites professing to be legitimate abound on the internet. That being the case it pays to be extremely careful with stuff we reveal online.
      Sire recently posted…Blogging Like Life Is All About ChoicesMy Profile

  6. What can we do with these people who sometimes hack our “identities” only for sheer pleasure. Anyway, having been a victim myself of a minor attack (email), I found that having a real strong password and changing them often, can minimize the damage.
    DiTesco recently posted…Best Google Plus Guides And TutorialsMy Profile

    1. That must have been a real bummer DiTesco, but at least it got you to change your online habits.

  7. I have seen a ton of the account emails asking to re-verify passwords and such, i don’t know how people fall for this when the url clearly isn’t what it should be.

    1. David there are times when the urls are pretty close and the landing page has been designed to mimic the real one. Also some people aren’t as savvy as others because they’re still new to the net.

  8. Funny to read your article right now, because just this morning i got an email from “Paypal” saying they’re doing some account verifications and that i should log in to my account and confirm. The link was masked and led to a website that was obvious not, but looked the same. Some with less experience would easily fall for that and input their real login data.

    1. Hey Martin,

      I got the very same email and I actually wrote a post about it called Beware PayPal Policy Update Email! I use that blog to warn others of scams and such that are floating around the Internet.
      Sire recently posted…Installing A Custom Header On Your WordPress BlogMy Profile

      1. It’s sad that people still get their money stolen like this. It’s not like there’s not enough warnings on the net about it, like your article.

        1. Hey Martin,

          although that site gets a lot of searches for that term shows there are many who are aware that such scams exist and are prepared to research it. The problem is there’s probably just as many who are ignorant of these scams.
          Sire recently posted…Log Into Your Favorite Sites Using Face TechnologyMy Profile

  9. My Twitter account suddenly started posting tweets on its own the other day, something about winning an Ipad2. I checked the Twitter security blog and it seemed to me that it’s a common problem but it freaked me out a bit as it’s the first time I’ve ever had my identity ‘stolen’ as such.

    I got the feeling that it was a security breech in Twitter and not with me personally but perhaps I’ve got that wrong?

    1. Sounds like someone got into their database and misappropriated some of the users profiles Roz. Not much you can do about that as I think you’re correct in surmising that it’s more Twitter’s problem, even though it does effect you directly.
      Sire recently posted…Log Into Your Favorite Sites Using Face TechnologyMy Profile

      1. Thanks Sire, I’m glad you took the same view as me that it was a security glitch with Twitter not me (but I did change my password anyway).

        1. That was very prudent of you Roz.

  10. Twitter:
    I think one of the biggest ways many people risk their identity being stolen is the spam emails where you are asked to update your account info or something like that.

    Lots of people simply believe those emails to be legitimate and so they respond.

    It shows how easy it is these days to have your identity stolen.
    Any way, those are great tips. Its a topic I haven’t really paid attention top much. But its time for me to secure myself.
    Satrap recently posted… Scam or Gateway to Free Money and Prizes?My Profile

    1. Yes indeed, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

  11. The steps that I have taken is to only log in to my personal accounts like banks at home and no always carry my laptop and have it password protect it. I also have installed norton anti-virus software.

    1. Great steps there Gustavo

  12. Some great precautions mentioned to prevent identity theft. Identity theft is when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud, typically for economic gain. Mostly these thefts are committed by someone the victim knows. So you must be very careful and not trust people too easily.

  13. Identity theft is quite alarming nowadays. And only few people are taking steps on how to prevent them to become victims. Thanks Sire. I think a little common sense can spare you into this trouble :) It’s easy to detect phishing emails right? :)

    1. Unfortunately common sense is in short supply for some people Linda :lol_ee:

  14. You just have to be aware that some people out their are trying and doing the very best they can to spoil your day, you have to have this in mind, so be smart, have good passwords, not birthdays ect, always clear what you can on your laptop, don’t leave to much info. Always shred documents with your address on, and so on. And save the important info to a stick. What would happen if your laptop shall we say goes missing? from what i understand nothing is safe their is always someone who can find a way in to the past and what you have completed and done on your computer. All you can do is be more aware, as i had my card details hacked not long back, and yes i had a password in place yet the bank still let the money go out? so nothing is safe.

    1. Great tips Neil. I actually had someone use my visa to buy something online. It must have been suspicious because the bank rang to ask if I used it to buy something on lie and when I said no they told me that they would cancel my card and that I would have to reapply by phone. Lucky someone was on the ball. Stuff knows how they got those details as I am very careful about that sort of stuff.

  15. I think less computer savvy people are more prone to falling for a computer scam like spam and fake facebook pop-ups etc.
    Most times I can smell that an email is fake from a mile away.
    Older people who still remember the time that you could leave your house without locking your door, are easy targets, but because of their lack of awareness they are also less likely to protect themselves from scams.

    Btw. Maybe for people who don’t know what you mean with wiping your hdd, cuz I assume you don’t mean just formatting your hdd.
    When you want to throw away your computer or sell it. Don’t just delete all the files or format the disk. because when you delete something it is not actually gone. It is still on the hdd untill the hdd writes a new file over it.

    When for example you by accident delete an important file, really delete, not just in the bin. It is fairly easy with some software to get the file back.
    So when you format your disk and some person with bad intentions picks it up or buys it, he can very easily unformat your disk and get all your information back.

    So don’t just delete your files. download a free program to really delete it. just google it, there are many.
    Danny recently posted…Husqvarna 327P5X Pole pruner 25cc 12 inch barMy Profile

    1. Hey Danny,

      thanks for clearing that up. I knew what I meant but I’m sure a lot of people didn’t know that formatting a HD doesn’t completely wipe all the files from your disk.

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