According to the Identity Theft Resource Center report, the number of data compromises reported in the USA in the first half of 2023 is higher than the total compromises reported every year between 2005 and 2020, except for 2017. It is estimated that 156 million individuals were affected. It makes 2023 the worst year ever in terms of data breaches.
In this article, we will briefly explain how your data can be stolen and will focus on steps you can take to protect your identity online. At the beginning, we want to note that you should use a free VPN to protect your digital identity.
Understanding the Risks: How Your Personal Data Can Be Stolen
Today, there are numerous risks regarding your online identity. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Data breaches impacting companies that store your data: Massive volumes of personal data are continuously being gathered and saved. Ai-enabled edge devices frequently collect information without users’ permission. The question is how secure their storages are. If these storages is hacked, your personal information could be used to steal your identity.
2. Improper use of contact details from data brokers: Data brokers collect personal data from different sources, process, sort, and sell it mainly for marketing purposes. However, there is no strict control over this process, so nobody really can guarantee that your data will not be used in scam techniques.
3. Digital online skimming: Although this type of attack is well known, it still harms thousands of people. Online shoppers are at risk as hackers insert malicious code into e-commerce websites and steal customers’ payment information.
Combining information from your social media with stolen data scammers can steal your identity. So you should do your best to protect your personal information.
Easy Ways to Protect Your Online Identity
Let’s have a look at the easiest effective steps to protect your digital identity.
1. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your data whenever you are online: A VPN was created to establish a secure connection between your device and a server. The server is usually located in a different geographic zone. We recommend starting your information security with a VPN download. VPN service will encrypt your internet traffic, so your information will remain secure during transmission. Additionally, it will hide your IP address so it will not allow scammers to see who is behind your online activity and match any data with you.
2. Use strong passwords: It is one of the primary ways to prevent scammers from targeting you. Your password should be long, complex, and unique for each account.
3. Enable two-factor authentication: It will significantly reduce the risk of account takeovers. You can choose an option to add your phone number to get a one-time password each time you sign in or consider biometric authentication.
4. Install antivirus software: It will protect your devices from malicious viruses, worms, and malware that can damage or steal your personal data.
5. Limit personal information sharing on social media: You cannot even imagine how much information scammers can find on your social media. There are two ways to decrease your chances of being scammed. Firstly, review your privacy settings and allow only your trusted friends to see your sensitive data. Secondly, think twice before sharing something on social media and limit the information you make public.
6. Delete apps and accounts you don’t use: Delete profiles you don’t use and decline cookies on websites.
7. Always read privacy policies: We hope you do so if you read this article, but if you sometimes just tick on the agree option, you may be surprised by the amount of information your apps collect.
These easy steps can help you protect your online identity. Of course, you can dive deeper and try to scrub your personal data from data brokers, etc. By now, you have a guide to start.
Remember that your online identity is worth the effort to safeguard it.