There are two kinds of identity theft you must protect yourself from:
New account fraud: Refers to financial identity theft in which the victim’s personal identifying information and good credit standing are used to create new accounts, which are then used to obtain products and services. Stolen Social Security numbers are often used to commit new account fraud.
Account takeover fraud: Using another person’s account numbers, such as a credit card number, to obtain products and services using that person’s existing accounts or extracting funds from a person’s bank account.
3 ways to protect yourself:
#1. Prevent new account fraud: When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open new accounts because creditors can’t check your credit. If you want to apply for credit then simply unlock or unfreeze your credit.
#2. Prevent account takeover: Run Windows Update, also known as “Microsoft Update.” It scans your computer on a regularly scheduled basis for any necessary software or hardware updates. You can access Windows Update from your control panel. Make sure it is set to download and update critical security patches automatically. Use comprehensive security software and keep it up to date to avoid keystroke loggers and other malware.
#3. Effective passwords: There is no such thing as a truly secure password. There are only more secure or less secure passwords. Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites, use different passwords for each of your accounts, use at least eight characters of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and, if possible, symbols.
Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures