Protecting Identity at Home
Identity theft: How does it work?
If your identity has been stolen, it is usually via a two-pronged attack.
STEP 1: Fraudsters ‘phish’ for your personal details online – via email or advertising – or physically, by searching for documents which have not been shredded securely at home.
STEP 2: They then use this information online or via mail to impersonate you, run up masses of credit, apply for things in your name, intimidate you or make life miserable.
Fortunately there are many ways to stop identity fraud at home.
1. Buy a Shredder
Shredders have in the past been viewed as machines that should be saved for the office.
Arguments have been made against purchasing such as:
“Offices have large volumes of paper and private company data, surely, they need a shredder or some form of ID protection…but why do I?’
Put simply, thieves are becoming more opportunistic, and with the increase of social media channels and business driving a more open society, the sheer amount of data which includes our personal details is growing at an alarming rate.
Your sensitive data is no less important than anyone else’s, and to thieves any unprotected can be an easy target with little repercussions for them, but may have a huge impact on you.
Fortunately as fraud increases, more and more people have seen the benefits of having a home shredder. Shredding sensitive material makes it near on impossible to steal.
Shredders are split into three categories - cross cut shredders, strip-cut and micro cut. Browse our selection for home and personal use today. Or, if you’re already asking ‘which is the best shredder for me?’ head over to our Shredder Selector for a quick, uncomplicated way to choose.
What Should I Shred to Prevent Fraud?
For an idea of what to shred, head to our ‘Home and Office: What should I shred, what should I keep?’ section, which gives an idea of what should be shredded to cover you against identity theft.
2. Consider PIN and Password Safety
- Destroy PIN documentation.
This may seem like an obvious way of combatting ID fraud, but when you receive your PIN, memorise it, shred the documentation to guarantee it cannot be used again, and never write it down.
- Consider keeping assigned passwords
People often change PINs or passwords to personal or recognisable combinations such as children’s birthdays or specific dates. These can be easily broken if a criminal has access to your details. Why not keep your newly assigned password and make that your ‘new number’ to keep identity fraud at bay?
- Have different passwords or pins
If you do change passwords, don’t use the same code for everything. Having the same password for all devices can mean that a potential fraud could be granted access to everything in one fell swoop.
3. Check references and statements
Bank statements and credit references are quite possibly the biggest indicators of identity theft. Check for unusual purchases, or credit ratings that don’t make sense. If you flag anything suspicious immediately contact your financial institution, or in more serious cases the police.
4. Lock your phone
In today’s society where we rely more and more on technology, the telephone represents the ultimate gift for fraudsters, identity thieves or Internet scammers. Many people’s lives are held in their phone, relying on them for bank access, calendars, password reminders, contacts, birthdays and identification.
Think of your phone like your home. You wouldn’t leave without locking the door, so why would you leave all this information accessible?
5. Limit your online footprint
With the rise in online fraud, it makes sense to keep hard copies and backups of sensitive material at home. The great thing about hard copies is that you can shred them securely, safe in the knowledge that they cannot be used against you. Online security is more difficult.
- Make sure you have good antivirus software.
- Limit the information you put on social media.
- Always check or flag suspicious emails and remember that your banks will never ask for your PIN.
Help: My ID has been stolen
If it’s too late and you believe that your ID has been stolen, there are numerous resources which can help, such as credit experts, your financial institution or the police.
For more tips on keeping your information and ID secure head over to our Solution Centre, or to see a range of shredding machines specifically designed to keep your identity safe, browse our selection today.