Photo credit: Studying-In-Us
When we hear the term “robber,” we normally picture someone inside a home ripping through drawers looking for valuables. Or imagine an individual standing face-to-face with a store clerk demanding money from the cash register. But, we never associate the word with someone trying to steal personal information such as social security numbers, credit card information, and bank account statements. In the eyes of the law, these individuals are just as dangerous as someone trying to break into your home. The most compelling evidence, however, is that, these individuals are also harder to catch since they do most of their dirty work from a computer.
According to WalletHub, more than 350,000 cases of identity fraud (theft) were reported in the year of 2012 alone, with the numbers still on the rise. The problem is so severe that one out of fourteen Americans was a target or victim of identity theft and 29% of them spent a month or more trying to resolve the problems created by ID theft. Needless to say, it’s a nightmare trying to recover your personal information after being a victim of fraud!
With the world becoming more hazardous, it’s uncommon to find people who aren’t concerned about their health, their financial obligations, and now, even their identity. Worrying about these things 24/7 has enough power to affect anyone’s health. Which can result in depression, anxiety, and pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms.
Before you decide to swipe your card, or email personal information over to someone, here are some ways you can improve your health by protecting yourself online.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Use Security Software. Installing an antivirus software, spyware, and firewall are one of the best ways to protect yourself against hackers. The software alerts you whenever you visit dangerous sites, and blocks web pages from trying to install a virus onto your computer.
Avoid Suspicious Emails. Don’t open emails, download attachments, or click on links sent by strangers. By doing this, you’ve practically granted permission for hackers to gain entrance into your computer revealing social media account information, bank statements, and health records.
Be Smart About The Wi-Fi You Connect To. Before sending personal information using your laptop or mobile device, on a public wireless network at a library, coffee shop, or other public place make sure the connection is safe. To emphasize, see if your information will be protected. Keep in mind, if you’re using an encrypted website, it only protects the information you send to and from that site. Secure wireless however, protects all the information you send to different networks.
Keep Your Computer Locked. Save your financial information on your computer only when necessary. It’s also recommended that users never use the automatic login feature on the internet browsers that saves usernames, and passwords. Also remember to log off when you’re finished. That way, if your computer is stolen, thieves won’t be able to access your personal information as easily.
By now you’re probably wondering, “How does this information apply to my health?” well, here’s how.
To begin with, if you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft, or credit card fraud, you know the process of getting everything back on track is tiresome. Your credit score is lowered, it can keep your kids from receiving financial aid, and it impacts social security income credits. The stress load alone can cause you to distance yourself, making you paranoid, and causing you to become isolated. The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, asserts that nearly half of all identity theft victims in 2012 who spent six months or more dealing with the aftermath of the crime reported suffering from severe emotional distress as a result of the experience.
So what can you do to avoid identity theft-related health problems? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
- Keep your information safe: Keeping your sensitive information as secure as possible will help minimize your risk. You should also keep all passports, birth certificate, social security, health insurance forms, and bank statements in a safe place at home.
- Reach out to others to help with stress. If you become a victim of identity theft or any other crime for that matter, don’t try to keep your emotions contained. To put it differently, seek help and talk to someone who’s either a licensed therapist, or just a close relative. Relieving your frustration, will decrease stress levels, allowing you to focus on the important task at hand, recovering your personal information.
Be safe out there!
Thank you for reading my article. I would like to know, what are some other tips you believe can be done to prevent identity theft. Or what steps can be taken to avoid damaging your health from the emotional stress this nightmare may cause? I will be checking for comments, so feel free to express your thoughts.