What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a malicious, fraudulent access and misuse of a person’s identity.The staggering emergence of identity theft has taken the digital world by storm. A recent study shows that 43% of all businesses have experienced a data breach within the past year*. You may think this doesn’t affect your identity, but that’s exactly what it means. A data breach is a breach of confidential information that a business stores, including that of its customers and its employees.
From data and credit card breaches to the tampering of mobile applications and websites, the channels for thieves to access your information seem endless. When your identity has been stolen, the laborious process to prove your innocence can cost thousands of dollars and consume weeks of your time. Whether it’s simply the privacy of a message being compromised, the misrepresentation of a sender, the altering of an email, or downright impersonation, the exposure of an unsecured email to a third-party can lead to identity theft.
*according to an annual study by the Ponemon Institute
What Can I Do To Prevent Identity Theft?
Now that you’ve been introduced to the repercussions of identity theft, you can understand how important it is to keep your information protected. There are certain things you can do to keep the identity thieves at bay, and keep your information secure. This all may seem a bit overwhelming, but there are certain tactics that can help prevent identity theft. So, let’s get to it!
Use a secure email solution … Sending sensitive information through any standard email application isn’t the best idea. Digital identity thieves these days can easily access unprotected and un-encrypted emails. As technology continues to progress, the ways for a thief or hacker to access your information will also continue to progress. Use an up-to-date secure email solution, such as NeoCertified, when sending and receiving important personal information.
Vigilantly monitor all of your credit/debit cards and bank accounts… If you notice any odd purchases or activity, notify your bank right away.
Be aware of your physical paper mail… Paper mail, regardless of its appearance, may contain important personal information that you won’t want in the wrong hands. Remove and shred all pieces of mail that contain your full name, address, phone number, social security number and any account numbers (even if only a few digits are visible). Also, remove all pieces of mail from your physical mailbox, as pieces of mail can easily be stolen from an open mailbox. It would also be in your best interest to use a mailbox with a locking capability.
Be wary of the websites and applications that you visit and subscribe to … Your favorite new mobile application or website may not be as secure as you think. Be cautious when allowing mobile applications to access areas of your phone, and when you’re subscribing to email lists and newsletters. Remember that not all websites are secure and many are simply there to exploit any capriciousness.
Take notice of any Wi-Fi networks your phone or computer are connected to … If the network you are connected to is not password protected, your information may be in jeopardy. Unsecured networks allow access to any users and all devices, regardless of their intentions.
Be smart when shopping online … A reckless online shopping spree may do more harm than you ever thought possible. Be cautious with what websites you make purchases from and how they’re obtaining your information. Using a system like Paypal may be more secure than submitting your information directly to the online store.
The most effective way to combat the growing problem of identity theft is simple — be smart about how you share and handle your own private information, especially when transferring that information from one place to another (this includes both physical and digital transference). And remember to vigilantly monitor all of your check and credit/debit card purchases.
Identity Theft & Email
What Is Secure Email?
Secure email is the process by which encryption or a secure server safeguards an email, preventing that message from being accessed by any outside or third-party sources. Standard email systems do not protect your messages and can be accessed from third-parties, because the messages sent are transferred and imprinted upon multiple servers.
Standard email is no safer than a piece of physical mail sent across the country, exchanging hands multiple times, and potentially being opened multiple times, before reaching the recipient.
NeoCertified utilizes an SSAE 16 Type II Certified Data Center that secures your email on a single server, preventing it from being replicated. After being secured in a matter of seconds, the recipient of the secure email is sent a notification with a link to a password-protected access point. From there, they can read and respond to the message. This secure process ensures that no third-parties have access to your personal emails and documents.
How Is Identity Theft Linked To Secure Email?
What most people don’t know is that identity theft is one of the main reasons secure email even exists. Businesses, healthcare providers and stores that any pieces of personally identifiable information (PII) of their customers must comply with federal agency regulations and policies. These policies have been put in place to help prevent outside sources from accessing customer information; secure email is one of the ways that businesses are able to both comply with regulations and protect their customers’ information.
But it’s not just businesses that need to take these necessary precautions, as individuals are just as exposed to a breach when the transference of private information remains unsecured. Secure email is here to hep ensure that your private information remains just that… private.
Identity Theft In The News
The recent substantial credit card and data breaches that hit stores like Target, Home Depot and eBay have made headline news, as millions of consumers had their credit card information compromised. This type of theft is directly linked to that of identity theft, as both come in forms of identity fraud.
People in the United States have their identities fraudulently used every year
Identity Theft & Your Family
Like many areas of crime, identity theft isn’t solely reserved for adults; children can become direct targets, as well. Regardless of how impossible it may seem, young children are just as easily targeted because of how and where their personal information is stored.
Many times thieves will attempt to access school records and educational databases to steal children’s identities before opening up bank accounts and applying for credit cards/loans. Child victims may not find out this is happened until months or even years down the line. This is why protecting your family’s identities is more important than ever.
Sending your child’s personal information securely is the first step.
Learn more about Child I.D. Theft: Consumer Information.
Find The Right Secure Email Solution Right Here!
NeoCertified has unveiled its latest technological offering, our Microsoft Office 365 Plug-in application. Upon installing this plug-in, you’ll have access to send and receive secure emails (with attachments) directly from Microsoft Office 365. The process is so easy, that we will have you have up and running within a matter of minutes! Start sending secure emails directly from Office 365 today, and keep your information safe and secure at all times.