Since the explosion of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, the risks of identity theft and fraud have increased dramatically. As fears have been expressed as online payment systems have become more prominent, online stores have appeared and the Internet has gained importance in the fabric of life and society; If anything, the risk has increased.

Who is at risk of identity theft? Are kids who grew up with the web more likely to be risk-aware, or are silver Internet users naturally more cynical and less trusting? And how do you know if your ID card is about to be stolen?

Some people are more at risk than others

Identity theft is a problem that shows no signs of going away. Throughout history, people have pretended to be someone they are not in order to gain a financial advantage. These days, it has become an industrialized form of fraud, with criminal gangs operating units dedicated to identity theft and the fraud (and sometimes extortion) that goes with it.

However, the risk of identity fraud is not the same. You won't be robbed if you can maintain control over your identity. Fraud cannot be committed in your name if it is not stolen.

Therefore, you must avoid identity theft. Unfortunately, some people are more prone to identity theft than others. Here are five key signs that you're at risk for identity theft.

(*5*)1. You don't check your credit card or bank statements

The mailbox creaks, you take the envelope, but you don't open it to see what's inside. After all, it is a bank or credit card statement. You know what you bought, what bills you paid, and how much you spent on your credit card.

There is no need to check.

Except… if your credit card has been cloned, there's a great reason to check. After all, you wouldn't find out about this fraud without checking your card statement. And you won't find out that someone opened a loan in your name and paid the monthly installments from your bank account without reading your bank statement.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

2. Use the same easy-to-remember username and password for each account

It's much easier to use the same username and password for all your accounts, isn't it?

After all, passwords are hard to remember. So why complicate things and waste time with different passwords and PINs when you can only use one?

A single password for all your accounts makes it easy for anyone who finds your password to access all your data. Cloud accounts, emails and social networks can be accessed with your unique password. Banks and credit card accounts may require additional data, but if a scammer has your passwords for everything else, they have enough information to impersonate you over the phone.

3. You have never checked your credit report

Think your credit report is for special occasions, like loan and mortgage applications? Do you think it is only available for banks and loan companies?

If you've never read your credit report, you won't be able to see how your data is put together. You won't know how bills are paid, month to month, and what credit checks have been run. Did you buy a new phone? The phone company will need to run a credit check. Have you paid off a loan? This will also be included here.

Has your name been used to apply for credit by a stranger? You won't know if you haven't checked your credit report. It's time to sign up for Experian (opens in a new tab) or similar services to access the report and view it on a monthly basis.

Microsoft warns users about the dangers of phishing

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When someone sends you an out-of-the-box text message or email asking you to verify that your login details are correct, you click the link, right? After all, you don't want to have to change that password if you can help it.

Online scammers looking to steal identities have a clever way of capturing that urge to click. They send messages claiming to be from your bank, mortgage company, credit card company, or even PayPal, eBay, or Amazon. The email includes the appropriate logo and font to help you convince yourself of its veracity.

In the body of the email there is a request to verify your account details by clicking a link and submitting your username and password. But of course it's a scam: the username and password don't confirm anything; are recorded by the database and other information on the fake website.

Have you heard of oversharing? It is when you tell the world every detail of your life (for example, on Facebook). Photos of food, thoughts on the bus, where are you, where have you been and who are you with.

This is information that identity thieves can use to create a profile about you. For example, they could use it to rob you, steal your phone and purse, retrieve the information they need, and impersonate you to get a line of credit. Or they could use it to track you out of the house, then break in and get your banking information.

Social networks are fun, but sharing something is dangerous. Be more discreet, share the good times, keep it within a circle of close friends, and limit the details of when and where. Disable "registration" features and keep your friends list compact.

Counter your risk behaviors

Other telltale signs could be added to this list, such as having your Social Security (US) or National Insurance (UK) number in your wallet or failing to secure your bank statements where visitors can't see them.

But now you must recognize the dangers. Believing "I won't get caught" is not enough to prevent identity theft. Instead, responsible behavior that appreciates the importance of your financial situation is required.

The theft of your identity card is an event that can change your life. It is definitely the one to avoid. Fortunately, it's also one you can prevent simply by avoiding key mistakes and learning new behaviors that secure your identity.

Share This