You don’t want to wake up one day to a debt of thousands of dollars. Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft both online and offline

The progression of internet culture, peaked with the launch of social networks has not only changed the way in which we perceive our surrounding, but also to the type of crimes that we expose ourselves to. If in the 90’s the idea of identity theft was only something seen in the cinema, today, these crimes became highly popular. A stolen identity is sold on the black market for anything between a couple of hundreds and a few good thousands of dollars. All depending on the type of insurance the victim holds, and what benefit could the possessor of the stolen identity holds. But before we discuss how to protect yourself from identity theft, we should learn more about what identity theft is.

What is Identity theft?

An identity theft is when an individual steals one’s personal details: account numbers, social security number, credit card number, or licenses, in an attempt to impersonate them and use those details for their benefit. In some cases, it might take months or even years to find out that the identity has been stolen, at which point, the owner of the stolen identity might be in heavy debt.

The problem with identity theft, is not only the loss of money, and time. It is often difficult to prove that one’s identity has been stolen and that the crimes were not committed by the person whose identity has been stolen.

The question how to protect yourself from identity theft, relies very much on one’s country of origin. In the United States of America, a social security number means more than a social security number in the United Kingdom, where a driver’s license number might be more valuable.

How to protect yourself from Identity theft?

First of all, you should always make sure no one is standing near or behind you and taking note of your personal details, whether you are standing in line at the ATM, or filling out any official form. These are old-fashioned ways of identity theft that are still popular in various parts of the world. Awareness and Alertness are always the number one answer to the question how to protect yourself from identity theft.

Never give your details unless you are certain the person you’re talking to is who he claims to be. If a representative if your insurance number contacts you, hang up the phone and call them yourself, using a number published on the company’s website or letters. If a company official approaches you, ask them for an ID, and try to take a photograph or write it down. If you’re talking to an impostor or thief, they will not let you take their details or behave in a weird manner.

Our third answer to the question how to protect yourself from identity theft would definitely be to never give your personal details online. Not even if you’re chatting to your friends or family and know for certain that it’s them. You can never know what might happen if their computer or phone will get stolen, or how well they are protected and security-conscious.