Being aware that the risk of becoming a victim of an ID theft in daily life is as big as in the virtual, electronic space, we can contribute ourselves considerably and avoid ID thefts or, in many cases, prevent such threats. In order to be able to do that, we have to be well informed.
The main and most reliable ways to protect ourselves from ID thefts:
1. In daily life:
- Destroy carefully and tear unnecessary paper documents or their pieces (old contracts, invoices, payment notices, letters from state and municipal authorities, etc., personal letters, Christmas greetings) into small pieces.
- Do not carry with you the documents, bank or credit cards you do not need at that moment.
- Remember bank and credit card PIN codes. Never write them down, in particular, on the credit card. If you, nevertheless, write down your passwords, encrypt the passwords in the way known only to you.
- Do not use credit and bank cards in doubtful or suspicious places.
- Keep your credit or bank cars in your hands when making payments for goods or services. Make all payment transactions on your own.
- Cover the bank card reader with your free hand when entering the PIN code of your credit or bank card.
- Never use a computer, smart phone or other devices for financial operations in public places (libraries, cafes, airports, etc.).
- Note whether there are no external suspicious installations, video cameras on ATMs or bank card readers.
- Provide personal data or any other financial information to other persons only when you are sure that such information is requested legitimately, find out for what purposes such information will be used. It is not advisable to provide confidential information by telephone.
- If you change the place of your residence, communicate information about the change of the place of your residence and address to the relevant institutions, financial institutions you deal with, and to the post not to have any correspondence with your personal data sent to your old address, etc.
2. In the cyberspace:
- Do not get tricked by unreasoned alluring offers requiring the disclosure of your confidential information by phone or online.
- Do not open the e-mails you get from unknown senders. Read the content of the e-mail attentively before opening any attached files, do not open suspicious e-mails and attached files.
- Regularly run anti-virus scan in your computer.
- Use all possible data security measures (e.g., change passwords, use legal anti-virus programs, etc.).
- Regularly clean and change login data and passwords. A password has to be long, strong and unique, consisting of capital and small letters, figures and symbols.
- Regularly install latest updates of the operating system and of the programs used, check the computer by updated security measures or online scanners. Anti-virus programs do not recognise unknown (new) viruses.
- Remember passwords, never write them down. If you still write your passwords down, never do that in your computer. Write them in the reverse order, vertically, add to or subtract from the real figure a specific figure – otherwise stated, encrypt your passwords in the way known only to you.
- Do not register in social networks (Facebook, Twiter, etc.) or provide as little as possible personal data when registering, use pseudonyms, shorten surnames if the website allows, indicate only your birth year instead of the accurate date of birth.
- Do not make your personal data public without a need or avoid providing them online, etc.
In case of an identity theft, you should act promptly and, most importantly, envisage other potential threats.
Nobody is safe from identity theft or any other offences involving private data. It is impossible to envisage all methods of precaution and security. Therefore, it is necessary to check permanently what is going on in your bank accounts and analyse attentively payments from your bank and credit cards. It is also necessary to check your credit history periodically as it can reveal criminal offences.
If you notice that you have encountered an identity theft, for example, noticed that there are payments you have not made in the excerpt of your bank account:
- immediately block not only the suspicious bank account but also all your bank and credit cards, accounts in other finance institutions;
- inform the company where use of your identity has been potentially made about this event;
- get new bank accounts with new account numbers to replace the accounts held;
- think what other confidential information and personal data may also be under risk;
- change all passwords online as soon as possible. They should be very strong;
- contact law enforcement institutions.