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Tips for Safeguarding Your Identity Online

Tips for Safeguarding Your Identity Online

November 10, 2023

Adopt a proactive approach to help your data remain uncompromised

Identity theft, one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes, can derail your personal and professional life. As we all live in the digital realm, it's crucial to understand the risks associated with sharing personal information and the steps to mitigate them.

Because in the hands of fraudsters, your personal details become tools for malicious activities ranging from unauthorized transactions to creating fake profiles, leading to financial, emotional, and reputational damage.

Your Social Security Number

One of the most coveted pieces of information for identity thieves is your Social Security number (SSN). When a company requests it:

  • Question the Need: Always ask why it's necessary. In many instances, companies request your SSN out of habit, rather than necessity.
  • Offer Alternatives: If a business claims they need your SSN for identification, ask if they can use another kind of identifier, such as a customer number or your driver's license.
  • Research the Company: Before sharing your SSN, ensure the company's legitimacy. Is it well-known and reputable? Check for reviews or news related to past data breaches.

Your Cell Phone Number

While sharing your cell phone number might seem harmless, it can lead to:

  • Smishing: This is phishing via SMS. Fraudsters send deceptive messages to lure you into revealing personal details or clicking malicious links.
  • Two-Factor Authentication Breach: Many platforms use your phone number for two-factor authentication. If cybercriminals access it, they might bypass this security layer.

Always think twice before sharing your cell number, especially with unfamiliar platforms or individuals.

Generative AI Like ChatGPT

Generative AI models, like ChatGPT, are powerful tools for various tasks. But remember:

  1. Never Share Personal Data: Avoid mentioning specifics like your full name, address, SSN, or financial details, even if it seems relevant to the conversation.
  2. Understand the Platform's Intent: Generative AI models are designed to provide information or facilitate specific tasks, not store or use personal data maliciously. Still, it's essential to approach them with caution.
  3. Stay Updated on Privacy Policies: Platforms continually update their data usage and privacy policies. Regularly review them to understand how your data is managed.

Tips to Enhance Your Security

Regularly Monitor Your Accounts: Check bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords: Employ a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider using a password manager.

Be Wary of Unsolicited Communications: Whether through email, phone, or messages, always be cautious. Verify the identity of the communicator before proceeding.

Vigilance is Your Best Defense

In an interconnected digital world, vigilance is your best defense against identity theft. By understanding the risks and adopting a proactive approach, we can work towards safely navigating the digital realm and helping our personal information remain uncompromised.


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This article was prepared by FMeX.

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