This blog is for my friend, I’m going to make her anonymous by just using the name Gagatha. Gagatha is one of my closest friends, she is quite active on social media platforms, especially Facebook. She always shares her location wherever she’s at and I think it has to be stopped, for her own safety. I think that behavior is not healthy because what if someone who is not a good person would take advantage of her? Like, follow her or creep on her, since she is always sharing her location, and or future location. She also recently got her United States Citizenship, and she posted her certification of naturalization on her Facebook, and it has all her private information. This can lead to identify theft which is extremely damaging to someone.
- In public places, for example, criminals may engage in “shoulder surfing”– watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your telephone calling card number or credit card number – or listen in on your conversation if you give your credit-card number over the telephone.
- If you receive applications for “pre-approved” credit cards in the mail, but discard them without tearing up the enclosed materials, criminals may retrieve them and try to activate the cards for their use without your knowledge. Also, if your mail is delivered to a place where others have ready access to it, criminals may simply intercept and redirect your mail to another location.
- Many people respond to “spam”– unsolicited E-mail – that promises them some benefit but requests identifying data, without realizing that in many cases, the requester has no intention of keeping his promise. In some cases, criminals reportedly have used computer technology to steal large amounts of personal data.
Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
- Don’t share personal information (birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) because someone asks for it.
- Collect mail every day. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles . If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Use the security features on your mobile phone.
- Update sharing and firewall settings when you’re on a public wi-fi network . Use a virtual private network (VPN) , if you use public wi-fi.
- Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
- Review your credit reports once a year. Be certain that they don’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
- Freeze your credit files with Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange for free. Credit freezes prevent someone from applying for and getting approval for a credit account or utility services in your name.
Katerina Vianca Sirene Mangalindan