Every three minutes 19 people fall victim to identity theft. According to 2017 IBM X-Force, the number of records compromised in 2016 grew 566% from 600 million to more than 4 billion. It is estimated that cybercriminals were paid $209 million in ransom just in the first three months of 2016.
Because this is so routine to share personal information in everyday life, many consumers don’t think twice when initiating transactions that force them to share personal information such as bank and credit card account information, income or even social security numbers.
National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with five necessary tips to protect their personal information.
3. Password protection – be sure to put passwords on all accounts such as a bank account, credit card account and phone account. For the most protection, consumers should avoid using passwords that contain their date of birth or mother’s maiden name as this information can be easily accessible.
4. Keep personal information in a safe place – Consumers should shred or tear any receipts, insurance forms, bank statements, expired credit cards and mailing labels when discarding to prevent identity thieves from capturing personal information.
5. Avoid giving out account details to unknown sources – Many identity thieves use phishing scams to gain access to consumers’ accounts. These scammers usually email or call and pose as a bank or credit card company employee asking to confirm account information. Consumers should hang up and call the number on the back of their card to confirm they’re speaking to a legitimate staff member.