Watch Out for Offline Identity Theft
With so much emphasis on data breaches and online identity theft, it is easy to lose sight of other dangers. Online identity theft might be frightening, but many identity thieves are working just as hard in the offline world. If you are ignoring these offline sources of identity theft and data loss, you are doing so at your peril.
At the same time, you need to be on the lookout for these common offline threats to your good name. Here are a few threats that could put you and your company’s identity at risk even if you never go online.
The biggest threat to your identity and identity of your company could be lurking at the end of your driveway or around your office space. Identity thieves routinely look for official correspondence like letters from government agencies and credit card statements. Such correspondence often includes Social Security numbers, giving thieves all the information they need to steal your identity, apply for loans in your name and otherwise make your life difficult.
There are a number of things business and homeowners can do to protect themselves from mailbox-based fraud. Signing up for online delivery of bank statements and credit card bills can help, as can switching to direct deposit for government and pension payments. Business and homeowners owners can also install mailbox alarms that send a notification when the mailbox is opened. Watching bank statements carefully and checking credit reports can provide an extra layer of protection.
You might not think your trash would be of interest to anyone, but it can yield great value to identity thieves. Some enterprising criminals do indeed go through homeowners’ trash looking for credit card statements, old bank statements and other personal information.
Business and homeowners can protect themselves by shredding their paperwork before placing it in the trash. An inexpensive shredder can protect you from identity theft and save you a lot of time, hassle and money.
Sometimes offline identity theft takes the form of an actual theft. If you lose your wallet or have it stolen, you can be sure that the criminal who gets it will try to take advantage of their good fortune.
Keeping a list of the items in your wallet is a smart way to protect against this lurking threat. Make a list of the credit cards you carry, along with the account numbers and customer service phone numbers for each one. Notify all the issuers as soon as your wallet leaves your sight, and pull a copy of your credit report as soon as possible.
You can also protect yourself by keeping certain things — like your Social Security card — out of your wallet. You do not need to carry your Social Security card with you; just memorize the number and keep the actual card in a safe place at home.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your business from fraud is to install a security system with CCTV. Not only will security cameras intimidate potential impostors, you will also be able to monitor your business at all times with mobile security integration. Identity theft can happen anywhere, from the local store to the trash bag in front of your home and office. Being aware of the threats and taking steps to mitigate them is the best way to stay protected.
At Herring Technology, we provide the most advanced security systems to keep your business and your home safe from impostors and intruders. Our services include alarm systems, radars, access control, security cameras, collision barriers, thermal image and many more. To learn how we can help, call us at (615) 846-2380.