5 Steps to Avoiding Identity Theft in Rights

From Britney Spears to Jay Z, plenty of celebrities have fallen victim to identity theft. Figures released via the BBC, show how the number of identity theft victims has risen by a third. Here are 5 steps to keeping your identity safe...

1. Use a strong password

undefined

Yes, it's super frustrating when we have to think of a password with capital letters, symbols AND numbers, only to be told it's too 'weak' - and inputting a Captcha code can sometimes take us half an hour to figure out.

However, using a complicated password (that you can remember) is your best chance at making sure your accounts are secure.

Tip: Don't use the same password for everything and stay away from using any personal details, such as a date of birth or name.

2. One person's trash is another's treasure

undefinedundefined

To prevent identity theft, try to shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before throwing it away.

3. Protect your computer

undefined

Identity thieves can use software to get information such as passwords, bank details and login details. Just because you can't see anything wrong with your computer, doesn't always mean that it's safe to use. The best way to protect your technology is by installing a strong and regularly updated firewall, anti-virus program and anti-spyware program. If you're not sure what to get, check in with someone from the shop where you bought your computer.

4. Monitor Your Transactions

undefined

Always check over your bank statements and credit reports, and make sure you agree with all of the transactions made. If you notice any unusual activity, even if it's only a small amount that you don't remember spending, report them to your bank or building society.

Be aware if you suddenly stop receiving bills or statements, it might mean someone has changed your address.

5. Use a secure network

If you're logging into online banking or doing some online shopping, make sure you're using a secure connection. Most phones, tablets and some computers will notify you if they think a certain site or network is unsafe.

It's usually best to avoiding logging into anything that involves your payment details over public wi-fi or 3G.

For more info on keeping your protecting yourself from identity theft, check out Cifas.