Identity theft is when someone impersonates you by using your name, ID, password, and other personal data, illegally. It is commonly done to gain money. Hackers get hold of your data through social engineering in which they manipulate the common human errors. In scams based on social engineering, hackers use the way people think and act as a tool to access their data. However, there are specific ways to prevent yourselves from identity theft.
Preventing Identity Theft Resulting from Social Engineering
Use fraud alert on your credit report
You can place a fraud alert on your credit report, which will make it difficult for imposters to create an account in your name. When you place a fraud alert, it serves as a warning to other businesses to confirm your identity before proceeding. The only flaw in this prevention technique is that it lasts for a specific number of days, i.e., 90 days to 7 years; it is not unlimited. However, it is free, and you can always renew it.
Freeze your credit report
A more permanent way to prevent social engineering scams is through a security freeze. When you freeze your credit report, it means that businesses will require a passcode or PIN to unlock your credit report. Thus, not everyone can pull your credit report. Just like a fraud alert, a credit freeze is also free, but it is more reliable than a fraud alert as it is for an unlimited time. You will have to request a credit freeze separately with each credit bureau and verify your identity there.
Guard your social security number
A more common approach to preventing social engineering scams such as identity theft is guarding your social security number. You should always correctly dispose off any piece of paper with your social security. If you are ever asked to provide this number, always ask why it is required and how it will be protected.
Order free credit reports
Each year you can order one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Therefore, you can order one from each bureau every three to four months, which will allow you to keep an eye on your account activities all year long.
Keep an eye on your accounts online
Lastly, you can monitor your account online to keep an eye on social engineering scams. Thus, you will be aware of your account activity. It is better to check your account periodically so that no unauthorized activity takes place right under your nose.
Social engineering scams can put you in a lot of trouble if not prevented. Thus, you should prefer one of the methods mentioned above to stay safe, or hire professional penetration testing services to do the work for you.