Molly’s Money | Let’s Talk Identify Theft

July 30, 2015·

Identity theft.

It’s one of those awful things in life that we never think is going to happen to us. It’s one of those, “No way is that going to be me… ever…” scenarios.

And then it happens. And we are blindsided. And it is awful.

Now, this is definitely a topic that could be discussed at length, and I’m not going to explore every angle of it today, but I do want to at least get the conversation going.

If I’m being honest with myself (and you), until recently, I don’t think I’ve given too much thought to identify theft.

First, let’s talk how identity theft happens.

I love this infographic because it really breaks down the main ways that scammers can steal your identity:
How scammers steal your identity | Title cartoon © Pornwipa/; Finger print © NREY/; Laptop icon © pking4th/; Call center icon © pking4th/; Gender symbols ©Mix3r/

So, what are some ways you can protect yourself?

  1. Change your passwords regularly. And make them difficult.
    • This one is hard, I know! The moment I memorize a new password, I feel like it’s time to change it. But, changing your passwords on a regular basis (and yes, having a capital letter, a number, and / or a symbol in there helps) will at least make it that much more difficult for hackers to get into your accounts.
  2. Speaking of passwords, don’t use the same password for everything.
    • Yep, another challenging one, but super important. Have a document (somewhere… especially in a totally not obvious place) that has all your accounts and passwords. That way you can remember more easily when you’re signing into your various accounts.
    • Having different passwords for things will also prevent those nasty scammers from hacking into #alltheaccounts and stealing #allthethings.
  3. Protect your computer.
    • Make sure your computer has a strong firewall, anti-virus software, anti-spyware, and malware protection, etc.
  4. Don’t click that suspicious link in that email sent from that person in your contact list.
    • Seriously though… if you get an email (even if it is from a friend or a family member) and there’s a subject like “CHECK THIS OUT!” or “I see you!” or “Look, spyware in my email!” and the email contains JUST a link… DON’T CLICK IT. Be smart, people. If you have a question about it… just email or call the person and ask if they legitimately sent it.
    • These are phishing scams and they’re not. real.
  5. Be aware when you’re shopping online. 
    • Make sure the sites are verified that you’re shopping from and that the sources are trusted. When in doubt, call.

Those are just a FEW of the ways to protect yourself. Yes, there is identity theft protection insurance and all that, which is awesome… but I just wanted to give you a few things you can do on your own to at least help the cause.

What about you? What’s your thoughts or experiences with identity theft? Share them in the comments below!