How to prevent identity theft and better protect your identity
Nearly 3 out of 10 UK adults report ever experiencing identity theft¹. Find out how to help you and your family overcome identity theft and prevent you and your child from becoming a victim in the future
Did you know that over half of Brits admit they would have no idea what to do if their identity was stolen? In a poll of 1,001 adults aged 18 or over, 55% confessed to being clueless about this very real threat. Sadly, nearly 3 in 10 UK adults report ever experiencing identity theft¹. It can be terribly distressing if it happens to your family: not only are your money and reputation at risk, but there is also so much to sort out in order to restore your identity, and time is a luxury many busy parents just don't have.
Norton is a leading consumer Cyber Safety brand, which offers a wide-range of solutions that are easy to use and easy to install. From antivirus protection against advance online threats, to online privacy tools and identity protection. Norton has plans that can address everyone's needs, from families to gamers.
Norton Identity Advisor Plus helps you better protect your identity with tools to help you monitor and respond to identity threats and keep tabs on your financial health, as well as support to help you resolve your identity theft issue should the worst happen.
Read on to see how you can help prevent an identity theft event and how Norton can help you resolve the issue if you're unlucky enough to have it happen to you and your family.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when thieves steal your personal information to steal your identity in order to take over or open a new account, rent or buy properties, or do other criminal things in your name.
How can identity theft happen and what can they do with your information?
Data breaches – Many companies you do business with store your personal information. If that company experiences a data breach, your information could be compromised.
ATM overlays – Thieves can install devices at ATMs to try and steal your account information when you insert your card to pay.
Malware & viruses – Thieves can use viruses and malware to access your personal and private information from your computer.
Mail theft – Thieves can steal mail directly from an unlocked or low-visibility mailbox, or go "dumpster diving" and sort through your rubbish looking for old bills or anything with your personal information on.
Once they have your information, theives can sign up for services on your behalf, impersonate you, use your accounts, credit and debit cards, or even change your address without you knowing.
How to prevent you and your children from experiencing identity theft
Here are some things you can do to help prevent identity theft happening to you and your family. Teaching your children about internet safety is important, even if you are monitoring their usage, so don't forget to include them in conversations.
Practice good password hygiene – Although keeping track of your passwords can be a pain, it's important that you choose something complex and not easy to guess, and that you use different passwords for different services (never use the same password for your email as you do for your bank, for example). Make sure you have 2-factor authentication setup wherever possible. Ensure the passwords your children are using (if they are old enough) are secure too, and discourage them from using words which are easy to guess, such as favourite games, pets, sports teams or people.
Look out for social media scams – As we spend more time on social media, thieves are moving there too. If you receive a suspicious message, even from a friend or family member, and it asks you to click a link, type in your password or share other personal information, do not reply. If you enter a giveaway on social media and receive a message saying you've won, be certain that the account is legitimate, as thieves monitor big giveaways and make fake accounts to harvest data from entrants. This is definitely one to inform your teenagers about! Remind all of your family to be very careful when clicking links and replying to strange messages on social media – for both safety and identity protection.
Learn to recognise phishing scams – Phishing emails ask you to verify your identity or tell you there's been a problem with your account, and they look just like a legitimate email from a service provider such as a bank, building society, utilities provider or insurer. These links are fake and offer thieves a way to steal your login details – links in the email will direct you to a fake website that will collect your data. If in doubt, type the URL of the company into your browser to ensure you're visiting the official website, and log in that way to see if you have any messages. Advise your children to always come to you if they're unsure whether an email is legitimate, and to never just click links and provide personal information.
Be wary of malware – Malware (malicious software that sneakily installs itself on your computer) can sometimes be used to infiltrate your devices and access sensitive personal data. Always avoid clicking on suspicious attachments, links or adverts, even if it looks like it's been sent from a family member, friend or work colleague. Also, ensure your antivirus software is up to date at all times.
Check your statements for anomalies – It's a good idea to regularly check your bank account and credit card statements to ensure no suspicious activity has been going on, and it can be easy to lose track of this if you've gone paperless. Make a date with yourself monthly to check up on all your major accounts. If you see any transactions you don't recognise contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
How Norton Identity Advisor Plus can help you
If you're unlucky enough to experience identity theft, Norton Identity Advisor Plus can help guide you through the steps you should take to resolve your identity theft issue, as well as help you better protect your identity.
Norton Identity Advisor Plus is only £29.99 for your first year and £79.99 per year.
Here are the features Norton Identity Advisor Plus offers you.
Credit Report & Score²
A healthy Credit Report & Score improves the likelihood of being approved for credit. The more you learn about your credit file, what you are doing well, and how to keep it in good check, the more likely you are to get the credit you need, when you need it, at a good rate. With monthly access to your Credit Report & Score, you can take the necessary steps to safeguard your financial reputation if you spot inaccuracies that may indicate fraudulent activity.
You get alerted when there are any major changes to your credit report, such as a closed account, missed payment or use of more of your available credit lines. If you spot something that you suspect is fraudulent or inaccurate, you can raise a dispute against it.
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Credit Score Simulator
This is an educational tool which can help you see which financial decisions may help or hurt your credit score. It's a great tool for teaching older children about money.
Identity restoration support
If your identity does get stolen then you will be given access to an identity restoration specialist to help guide you all the way through the restoration process.
Dark web monitoring
Dark web monitoring continuously searches the dark web and private forums looking for your personal information. If it finds anything related to you, you'll receive a notification.
Social media monitoring³
Social media lets us connect with the world but may come with risk. Someone could take over your account, or send you links or scams that lead to risky sites. Norton will monitor your account on popular social media sites and let you know if they notice any suspicious activity.
Stolen wallet assistant
If your wallet is stolen, you will be provided with guidance on how to cancel or replace your credit cards, driver's licence and more.
How can Norton keep my whole family safe on the internet?
Norton also offers fantastic parental tools. Norton Family plan provides insight that help parents foster a healthy life balance for their children and their devices. Norton gives parents the tools to tech children to be tech safe and smart.
If your child is home schooled or works online frequently then Norton Family can also help keep your child focused on schoolwork during the school day too.
¹Based on an online survey of 1,001 adults in the UK by The Harris Poll on behalf of NortonLifeLock, December 2021
²Norton Credit Portal features provided by TransUnion International UK Limited. Accessible to +18 residents of UK, IOM & Channel Islands, after successful registration & verification. Terms apply
³Social Media Monitoring is only available on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. On Facebook Instagram and LinkedIn only account takeover feature is available
Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team, specialising in household and trying to help parents save money. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products, ranging from best cordless vacuums to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development. During her teenage years she worked as a play worker and Brownie volunteer to support children's play.
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