Your identity is the complete set of characteristics that defines you. This includes your name, date of birth, gender, address, schools attended, your work history, position – to mention but a few.
Our identity is an important aspect of our live that must be protected to avoid being impersonated. As individuals the strength of our identity is further, a function of the role, status, position as well as the information available at our disposal. Our net-worth, sensitivity of information in our possession and the work relationship we enjoy with families, colleagues and business partners are things we ought to guide jealously.
Today, technology has made information easily accessible to all, unlike when information can only be documented and filed away in cabinets but gets exposed as desired or gets lost if not properly kept or secured. With the advent of online activities and social network platforms (example: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on), the speed through which information is being disseminated cannot be contended with.
The best protection is prevention. Here are some tips to safeguard your good name:
Some of these characteristics never change!
1. Keep your important papers secured, shred documents with sensitive information before you put them in the trash.
2. Check your statements carefully. Go through your creditcard and bank statements every month. Unexpected entries can be the first indication that somebody is stealing your money.
3. Limit your social networking - Protecting your identity online is one of the most important things you can do. It’s tempting to include basic information such as your full name and date of birth in your online profiles, and then add interesting details such as your pets’ or children’s names and nicknames. Don’t — these are the kind of details that you probably use for passwords and PINs, so leave them out. Your cyber-friends might be fraudsters looking for enough data to steal your identity.
4. Don't risk important documents – Do not carry your passport, driving license or even credit cards unless you know you’ll need them. Never write down your PINs or passwords. If your bag or wallet is stolen, you could be handing the thieves your identity as well as your cash.
5. Don’t respond to cold calls or to unsolicited e-mails - Never reply to e-mails or to cold-callers asking for details such as PINs, passwords or account numbers — and don’t fill in your details on any unfamiliar e-mail or website.
6. Make sure any online credit card charges are handled through a secure site or in an encrypted mode. You'll know you're on a secure site if the Web page on which you conduct your transaction begins with https instead of the usual http.
8. Limit the number of credit cards you carry. The fewer you have, the easier it is to track them.
9. Never leave paid bills in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up. Drop them off at a post office box.
10. If you're moving, contact all your creditors and update them of your address changes immediately. You don't want credit information and new credit cards being delivered to the wrong address. Likewise, if your credit card expires and you don't receive a new one, call your creditor immediately.
Cultivating the necessary precaution would not only help eliminate the possibilities of compromising your identity, but also safeguard your accessibility onto any forum/medium or platform