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Identity theft is getting more and more commonplace, and with data breaches happening on a regular basis, it’s almost guaranteed that your personal information is out there on the dark web, in the hands of criminals. But just because you’re vulnerable to identity theft doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it.

You can do plenty to avoid becoming the victim of identity theft. By taking precautions to protect your personal information, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Identity thieves can use your personal information to take out loans and credit cards in your name, commit crimes and give your information to the police when they are arrested, or use your health insurance for their own treatment. Don’t let thieves destroy your finances and your life – take these steps to avoid having your identity stolen.

Use an ID Security Service

It’s a good idea to use an ID security service or software to help you protect your identity. Not only can such a service help with credit monitoring and dark web monitoring, it can also provide some recovery help and identity fraud insurance coverage if you do fall victim to identity theft.

Shred Your Bills and Statements

Credit card, investment, and bank statements should be shredded before being disposed of, to prevent thieves from stealing the information out of your trash. Use a crosscut shredder to ensure that these documents are adequately destroyed.

Watch Your Mail

Identity thieves will steal your mail in order to try to get information like your Social Security number or your credit card numbers or bank account numbers. Take your mail out of your mailbox as soon as possible after it arrives. Use Informed Delivery so you know what you should be getting and can watch for it.

Be Savvy About Scams

Phishing and spoofing scams are getting more sophisticated, so you need to stay on your toes. A spoofing scam occurs when a scammer uses software to make a phone call appear to come from a legitimate source, like the IRS or your bank. Phishing scams occur when scammers use email to try to steal your personal information or login credentials through a mirror site or by downloading malware onto your computer. Know the signs of phishing and spoofing scams so you can protect yourself and your identity.

Check Your Credit Reports

You have to check your credit reports regularly to make sure no one has opened any accounts in your name or changed information like your address and phone number, as these are signs your identity has been stolen. You can go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get annual copies of your credit reports from the three major reporting bureaus for free. Stagger them throughout the year for maximum efficiency. Your bank or credit card issuer may also over credit report monitoring. 

Protect Your Social Security Number and Other Personal Information

Be careful who you give your Social Security number to. If someone asks for it – say, a doctor’s office or business you’re patronizing – ask how they’re going to use it, whether they need the whole number or just the last four digits, and how they’re going to protect your information. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, don’t give out the information. Protect your PIN numbers, credit card numbers, birthday, and other sensitive information, too.

Lock Your Mobile Phone

A simple screen lock on your mobile phone could keep someone from accessing your personal information long enough for you to wipe the phone remotely. Use apps instead of a mobile browser for banking, as it’s more secure if your phone gets stolen.

Carry a Digital Wallet

Using a digital wallet is safer than using your physical cards, because the digital wallet won’t use your credit card number for transactions – instead, it’ll generate a one-time token for each transaction, and that can protect your data in the case of a data breach, since it means that the seller won’t have your credit card info. It can also be a lot more convenient to just carry around your phone or use your smart watch instead of having to take a wallet everywhere.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

You should use a unique, strong password for each one of your online accounts, and you should change your passwords every 60 to 90 days. Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for any account that offers it. That way, you’ll have to verify your identity through a secondary method every time you log in. This can not only protect your account from thieves, but can potentially give you a heads up that someone is trying to get into your account.

The last thing you need is to get your identity stolen, but you’re likely vulnerable. Do what you need to do to protect yourself, so you don’t have to face the consequences of identity fraud.


Los Angeles county residents who get coronavirus vaccine will be able to keep proof of immunization in their iPhone’s digital wallet.

The record will live in the Apple Wallet, usually used for payment cards, boarding passes, or event tickets.

According to officials, it will first be used to remind people to get their second required dose of the vaccine.

However, it could also be used as proof of vaccination in the Covid-19 hotspot of Los Angeles.

Bloomberg first reported news of the county’s partnership with software firm Healthvana.

The digital card could be used “to prove to airlines, to prove to schools, to prove to whoever needs it,” that a recipient has been immunized, Healthvana CEO Ramin Bastani told Bloomberg.

Spain to Register Those Who Refuse to Get Covid Vaccine

Los Angeles County has a high level of infection of the disease, with nearly 13,000 new cases reported on December 29, and 227 deaths – bringing the number of those who have died with the disease to 9,782 to date.

The county’s vaccine chief Claire Jarashow told Bloomberg that officials were keen to make sure people came back for their second vaccine dose – as the paper document given to recipients is easily lost.

She said: “We just don’t have the capacity to be doing hundreds of medical record requests to find people’s first doses and when they need to get their second.”

Healthvana has a track record of handling sensitive patient data, having delivered millions of HIV test results to US patients in recent years.

However, there has been some resistance to the idea of a “vaccine passport”, which some fear could be used to deny entry to venues if people are unwilling to share personal medical information.

There are also some potential problems – such as not having the digital vaccine record on all phones, including Android users.

And there is no way to prove that the person holding the phone is the same person who received the vaccine, without some other identifier.

Those people might see this idea as a “hostile approach”, designed to withhold access to getting on board a flight, or attending an event.

A new technology that will enable people to withdraw money from cash machines (ATM’s) using their smartphone has been unveiled.

Customers who use the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) or NatWest mobile banking app can now request cash, up to £100 ($160), via their smartphone.

They are given a six-digit code to enter into an ATM to release the cash.

A similar system has been developed by cash machine operator NCR. This requires users to scan a barcode to withdraw the money.

The services are the latest developments in a long-predicted move towards the smartphone becoming a digital wallet.

Customers who use the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) or NatWest mobile banking app can now request cash, up to £100 ($160), via their smartphone

Customers who use the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) or NatWest mobile banking app can now request cash, up to £100 ($160), via their smartphone

RBS said that its new system would help customers who had forgotten their bank cards, or who wished to send cash to family members in a hurry.

It would also allow the people to leave their wallets at home in favor of taking a mobile phone, it suggested.

“It is a really simple and secure way to help our customers get cash whenever and wherever they need it,” said Ben Green, head of mobile at RBS and NatWest.

The service is available to customers who have downloaded the bank’s free app and use the 8,000 RBS, NatWest or Tesco branded ATMs in the UK. Some 2.6 million people have installed it on their smartphone so far, the bank said.

At present, customers using a card can withdraw up to £300 ($480). Initially the limit on the cardless withdrawal will be £100 ($160).

Access to the app requires a password, and the withdrawal code will be hidden until the user taps the screen. This is aimed at preventing thieves from looking over the user’s shoulder to steal the code.

The system is an extension of a RBS service that allowed people whose card had been stolen to access emergency cash from an ATM.

The bank is also unveiling a system which allows customers to make charity donations at its ATMs.

In a separate development, NCR has announced that it has developed software that allows people to scan a barcode on their smartphone at an ATM to release an amount entered in their smartphone.

It is looking for banks and building societies to adopt the software.