In 2016, around ten per cent of American adults were victims of identify theft. Identify theft is the use of someone’s personal information without having their consent, usually for the purposes of financial gain.
If you have a credit card, you are more likely to have information out there accessible to would-be fraudsters. Online gamers are particularly vulnerable. It is thought that over 90% of the global video games market is made up of digital downloads, which usually involves gamers putting in their credit card details to purchase. Because of this, it is a good idea to take preventative measures to stop malicious characters from using your personal information and causing you no end of financial stress.
Here are six ways to protect yourself from identity theft.
Limit the information that you share
By simply being careful with the amount of information that you share online, you will significantly reduce the risk of being a victim of identity theft. Do not give out your real name, address, date of birth or passwords to anyone – they are some of the most common pieces of information used to hack accounts and steal identities. After all, you would not give random people on the street these details, so do not give them out online! Only follow people that you know, and do not accept friend requests from random strangers.
Use two-factor authentication
Most video games and consoles give you this option now, and if you can do it, we highly recommend it. Two-factor authentication means that you need to provide a second piece of proof to verify your identity; usually, a code sent to your email or cell phone. Some places now use fingerprint technology or face scanning recognition. It is one of the safest ways of identity verification, especially as all data in Jumio is stored with secure encryption. It does mean that it takes longer to log in, but it is worth it to avoid someone else logging in without your permission.
Do not use the same password on different websites and games
When you have a million and one passwords to remember for various websites, devices and games, it can be tempting to use the same one across all of them. Don’t! If a cybercriminal manages to crack your password, he or she can access all of your accounts very quickly. If you struggle to remember passwords, some services manage all of your passwords and allow you to use one secured sign-in username and password to access all of your accounts, like LastPass and 1Password. While we are on the subject of passwords, make sure you do not choose one that is easy to guess. Avoid your date of birth, year of birth, home town, and consecutive numbers such as 1234. Choose a string of upper and lowercase letters, including figures and symbols. A password generator can help with the creation of this. Do not make it is easy for anyone to get your password!
Use a ‘throwaway’ credit or debit card
By this, we mean using a card that is not tied directly to your main bank account. That way, if they do manage to get your passwords and get through all the verification steps (unlikely, but certainly not impossible!), they hopefully will not be able to do too much damage to your bank account.
Understand what you are signing up for
Online games are prevalent on social media platforms such as Facebook, but these games often require users to accept specific permissions to play them, and this can put you at risk of identity theft if the developers are unscrupulous. Before you give permissions for friends lists, account information and the ability to post on your behalf, read through and question why they need to do this. If it does not sound quite right, it probably isn’t.
What to Do If You Think Your Identity Was Stolen
If you believe that you or someone in your family has become a victim of identity theft, you should report it to the support page for the game and your bank. If any of your personal information has been compromised, change your password straight away and cancel your debit or card. Make keeping an eye on your accounts something you do as a matter of routine, and regularly check your credit report to make sure no new accounts of fraudulent charges or defaults have been added.
Hackers and cybercriminals will always find a way to get your information if they really want to, but by following these steps, you can make it a lot more difficult for them.