Even though there are several advantages of the internet, it also makes it important to protect your personal data. There are numerous organizations that collect your personal data and have unfortunately had security breaches allowing anybody to access this data!
Security breaches are not limited to civilian data, even branches of the military have sometimes experienced security issues where the personal data of veterans is concerned. It is so common to hear of an insurance company or bank’s computer being hacked resulting in leak of your personal data.
With the leak of your personal data, it is so easy for identity theft and similar crimes to grow. If you’re an identity theft victim, there could be credit card accounts in your name that you have no knowledge of and obviously have no intention of paying. The only way you become aware of these are when you begin receiving calls from collections regarding an account you never opened and certainly did not open.
Whether at home or when online, there are several steps you can take to ensure your personal data remains protected.
Unless necessary, make sure you do not pass on your personal information to anybody. It is very important to guard your social security number. The only place you should give out your social security number is at a bank, to government offices when required or to your employer. If your visit to a doctor requires your SSN, ask what it is required for. Avoid carrying your social security card in your purse or wallet and opt for a secure place that will not allow it to be lost or stolen. If your wallet or purse is stolen, your social security card is very important information that will be gone with it!
Another way to protect your personal data is when you stop getting your driving license number and phone number printed on your checks. About a decade ago, this was very common and convenient for writing checks, however, it is no more required. Today, all you could be doing with printing your personal data on a check is to help a thief take your identity. It is also easier for somebody who finds your checks to empty out your account.
The best purchase you can make to protect your personal data is a paper shredder. Destroy all pre-approved applications and expired credit cards. Not doing so could pass on your personal data for identity theft.
A mailbox that locks is a good protection too. There are several versions you could get in the market that allow the postman to drop in your letters but require a key for retrieval. This is a very good way to ensure your personal data remains protected. There have been many instances where identity theft occurs when people steal your mail and get your personal data!
If you are not in town overnight, make sure somebody can collect your mail for you. For a longer duration, ask your post office to hold your mail till you are back. If you travel often, then get a post office box. Any mail that could contain your personal data is most secure there.