You may think this is something that happens to others, when in fact, it can very easily happen to any of us. There are many ways that we can have our identity stolen or compromised.
Here are a few of the more common ways your digital devices can be stolen and your identity compromised:
- Airports: mainly at airport security as electronic devices go through the scanner, and before it is retrieved by you, the passenger.
- College Campuses, libraries, hotels.
- Transportation modes such as cars, taxis, buses, trains.
- Cafes that have Wi-Fi.
It is reported that 10% of all laptops / tablets are stolen within the first year of purchase, and 90% of these stolen items are never recovered. Having the actual hardware stolen is devastating enough; to have our personal identity stolen is even more so. It can take up to six or seven years to recover your personal identity.
How can you lessen your risk of “losing your identity” to a stranger?
- Do not store personal information such as social security numbers, credit card, or bank account information on your electronic device.
- Lock it down! If you need to store some of the above information, utilize the numerous software options available to encrypt the personal data.
- You can install software that will allow you invisible internet access to your stolen data. This allows you to transfer the “stolen” data to another device and delete the data from the stolen device.
- There is software that will allow you to render the device unusable.
- There is “Geo” software that will try to locate the stolen device.
The absolutely best way to keep your identity safe is to NEVER leave your device unattended. It should remain with you at all times, and if this is not possible, it should be “locked up”, securely and out of sight, and “locked down”, as described above. Remember, in most cases, your personal identity is many times more valuable than the actual cost of an electronic device on which it is stored.
So, as you go out in the world to interact and meet with acquaintances and strangers, keep in mind, at all times, to be safe and keep your devices secure. In doing so, you will have peace of mind that you have done all within your power.