It’s no secret that identity theft has quickly become one of the most popular crimes among thieves. In a digital world, hackers are able to obtain personal information without ever physically seeing their victims. Unfortunately, it is still possible for your information to fall into the wrong hands without having someone hacking into your personal information. You need to be wary as a consumer about how your personal information is being used. There are still groups that attempt to phish for your personal information, whether it is over the phone, or mailers sent to your house.

There is an upside though; there are many ways that you can protect your personal information on all fronts. Below are 5 tips for you to better protect your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

  1. Create strong, unique passwords.
    • While it may be cumbersome to have unique passwords for all of your accounts, it is important that you create a strong password for each of your accounts. If a hacker is able to figure out 1 of your passwords, you run the risk of them obtaining access to all of your accounts.
    • When creating passwords, avoid using simple, recognizable words. Many sites now require you to use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  2. Password protect your phone
    • Phones have become an essential lifeline in our society and unfortunately there are times when we misplace them. With new easy pay apps, your phone has become another place that personal information is stored. If your phone is stolen you run the risk of having a thief using your cellphone to fund their shopping spree.
    • Smartphones are now GPS tracked, be sure to enable this service in the case that your phone is misplaced. It is possible to track down and find your phone if it was been stolen; contact the police before attempting to find your phone.
  3. Know how your personal information is being used.
    • Only give out your SSN or Driver’s License number when it is absolutely necessary. Such instances include job hiring processes and large purchases like automobiles and home loans.
  4. Destroy all documents containing your personal information
  5. Download mobile apps for your bank and credit card accounts
    • Many banks and credit card companies have created mobile apps that allow you to check on the status of your accounts. It is a good idea to check on your accounts between statements in order to detect fraudulent activity faster.