Learn a Simple Action You Can Take to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
There is a lot of advice out there about how to protect your personal information on the internet, but there is one specific thing I do to protect myself from identity theft.
As the Founder and CEO of a company with over 36 years of history, I possess valuable data that cybercriminals seek to obtain. This includes access to company credit cards and other sensitive information.
I am serious about protecting myself and my business from identity thieves, and I recommend everyone do the same. Identity Management is important for business leaders, IT decision-makers, and the general public.
Identity theft is when someone takes your personal information, like your Social Security number or credit card numbers, and uses it to open bank accounts or apply for credit cards and loans in your name. Victims of identity theft can suffer financial loss as well as damage to their credit scores and reputations.
According to Security.org, 22% of U.S. households have been a victim of an account takeover attack — resulting in an average financial loss of $12,000.
Businesses are an even larger target, which isn’t surprising because they have the potential for a bigger payout. The Identity Defined Security Alliance reports 84% of organizations suffered an identity-related breach, and 78% suffered direct business impacts.
It is critical that business owners take identity management seriously since one wrong click could lead cyber criminals into their corporate network.
- 54% of security incidents were caused by credential theft (Ponemon)
- 82% of breaches analyzed in the last year involved a human element (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report)
- 96% of people believe they might have prevented or minimized security breaches by using identity-related security practices (Identity Defined Security Alliance)
In the United States, the number of identity theft cases is almost triple that of other nations. Recent studies confirm that an astonishingly high 33% of Americans have encountered a case of identity fraud.
Chances are you, or someone you know, has dealt with the headache of some form of identity theft. There is a lot of advice out there on how to protect yourself from identity theft, and it can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
The Quickest and Most Effective Way to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
This tactic is pretty simple and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. I firmly believe in this, and I use it to protect myself, my identity, and my business.
It is called a credit freeze, and it does exactly what it sounds like it does — freezes your credit. This freeze makes it so that any credit requests are denied, stopping identity thieves in their tracks.
How Does a Credit Freeze Work?
Credit bureaus like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion keep track of your spending and debt repayment to generate your credit score. Lenders check your credit history with these bureaus before approving new credit.
But when you freeze your credit, the bureaus can't share your information with lenders. So, even if criminals have your personal information like your social security number, they can't open new accounts in your name because they can't access your credit history.
Freezing your credit is quick, easy, and can protect you from identity theft. It's free to set and thaw a credit freeze, so don't pay anyone who says otherwise. Taking this step can give you peace of mind and help you sleep better at night.
Here’s how you do it…
You need to head to each of the three primary credit bureaus’ websites to set the credit freeze on each one. The process is straightforward as you are prompted to enter your personal information.
Once the credit freeze is set at all three credit bureaus, you are done. All attempts at opening a financial account in your name will be denied. When you are ready to open an account, unfreezing your credit is just as easy as setting the freeze.
Taking this one simple step of freezing your credit will significantly fortify your financial and personal security, making it much more difficult for an identity thief to access any accounts you have.
Please take a few minutes to freeze your credit to protect your identity. When one person is more secure, we’re all more secure.
April 11, 2023, is Identity Management Day
Established in partnership with the National Cybersecurity Alliance, Identity Management Day, held on the second Tuesday of April, is a day of awareness to educate business leaders, IT decision-makers, and the general public about the importance of identity management. I encourage you to share this information with others so we can all be more secure.
For more information on Identity Management visit https://www.idsalliance.org/event/identity-management-day-2023/.
Want to keep up with me as I share security tips?
Follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to the One Step Secure IT blog.