Digital Hygiene 🧼

Identity Theft: What is it and how to prevent it

Identity theft impacts millions of Americans every year. But what exactly is identity theft and how can you stop it?

The internet can be a scary place. And it’s full of digital bad guys. Data hungry corporations, hackers, and scammers all pose a threat to our safety and privacy. And without proper protection, we leave ourselves vulnerable to them.

Identity theft and consumer fraud are at the top of the list when it comes to online crimes. A staggering 47 percent of Americans claimed to be the victim of some form of financial identity theft in 2020. The losses from these cases cost victims over 700 billion dollars. That’s right, billion with a b. And these numbers only look to rise by the end of 2021. Odds are, either you or someone you know has been a victim of online identity theft and fraud. And if not, then odds are you will be at some point in the near future.

That’s pretty alarming. So, let’s more precisely define what identity theft is and the ways in which you can prevent it.

What is Identity Theft?

In a general sense, identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it to commit some form of fraud. Fraudsters can obtain your sensitive information through a variety of hacks and breaches. Once they get a hold of it, they use it to open accounts in your name, falsify records, and even dupe your family and friends. There are a lot of different forms of identity theft. Some of the most common forms include:

  • Online Shopping Fraud
  • Account Takeover
  • Debit or Credit Card Fraud
  • Mail Identity Theft
  • Driver’s License or Passport Theft

And that’s far from the only forms of theft which threaten you and your loved ones. Each site you visit on the web opens you up to privacy threats. At least, they do if you lack the necessary protections. So, let’s explore what solutions are out there to help you combat identity theft and the various dangers of the internet.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

You may be asking yourself, how exactly do digital bandits get their hands on my personal info? As we briefly discussed earlier, fraudsters obtain victims’ information through some form of data attack. Your online data contains a ton of your personal information. Some of which you may not even be aware of. Not only does your data contain basic contact information such as your full name, phone number, and email address, it can also contain more intimate info such as your Social Security number, medical and financial information, and criminal and education background. That’s right, your online data may contain your most sensitive information imaginable.

And every time you visit a site and agree to their cookies or terms of service, you’re allowing companies to store your data in their database. Meaning, if that company is exposed in any sort of hack or data breach, your sensitive information is now in the hands of malicious strangers. So, the best way to limit the threats to your online safety and privacy is by taking control of the flow of your data. And the easiest way to do that is by employing data protective services.

Privacy Bee: The Best Way to Protect Your Data

The top consumer data protection service on the market is Privacy Bee. Rather than hoarding your data like most companies, Privacy Bee works to scrub your data from the unwanted parts of the web. Their Consumer Dashboard lets you choose which companies you trust with your data and which you don’t. Meaning, companies you deem untrustworthy will no longer be able to store your personal information. This makes it much easier for you to keep your data out of harm’s way and avoid identity theft and other privacy threats.

And that’s not all! On top of helping you control the flow of your data, Privacy Bee offers a litany of other features which help you stay safe online. These include 24/7 vulnerability monitoring, data broker removal, a free browser extension, and an extended protection plan to keep your entire family safe. These powerful features make Privacy Bee the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones as you browse the web. And the coolest part? You can give it a shot for free today!