Thursday, March 5, 2015

Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

Your day is probably very similar to that of many others - go to work, play around on your phone during lunch and breaks, come home, log into social media, check your bank account, send some emails... pretty typical. The thing that many people do not realize though, is that each time you go online and enter in information about yourself, (a password, credit card number, location service) you're giving someone else the opportunity to learn more about you and your whereabouts. While this may not seem like a big deal, all it takes is one slip up for a thief to gain access to some of your most private information.

How is This Possible?

Think about it this way; if you log into your accounts or your email while at work, and your workplace uses a public network connection, it may be easy for people to see who is using the network, and what they are doing with it. In the same vein, using a public computer to do personal activities raises your likelihood of forgetting to log out  - or accidentally storing a password that you meant to keep private. Either of these options may make it possible for a stranger to look into your life... and not everyone will stop at posting a harmless status update or sending funny emails before logging back out. Some people can use instances like this as an opportunity to attempt identity theft - or begin working toward it.

The Dangers of Identity Theft

Your private information is meant to stay private, that's what makes it unique. You choose passwords and security questions - even account names - as a way to ensure that you and only you can access your accounts and information. Paying bills, shopping, social media and even email accounts all have unique identifiers, which keep them from being accessed by the public. They are meant to be seen by the account holder only, so it can be extremely unnerving to know (or even think) that someone else has had access to them. When someone that should not have access to your identity works their way in, terrible things can happen. Money can be stolen, relationships can be ruined - even reputations between you and businesses and creditors can be tarnished. Though these breaches can happen quite quickly, often without notice until it is too late, it can take months to years in order to be fully repaired, often at your extreme expense.

After carefully considering this type of outcome, many people decide to protect themselves from identity theft by utilizing services that can help to keep their information private, as well as update them on the ways that their information is being used. Not only does this serve to give people a heads up when they need one, but it can be a good way to keep track of various actions that people take with their own information as well. With regular updates and careful monitoring of activities, people can better protect themselves from becoming victims and having to go through all of the hassles associated with identity theft.

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