Everyday Objects Can Lead to Identity Theft  

You wouldn’t imagine that a kid’s toy might result in the theft of your personal information. But this occurs frequently. What about the garbage can you have outside? Is it a gold mine for a burglar looking to steal someone’s identity at night?

Identity theft can be caused by numerous commonplace items. People frequently ignore them in favor of their computers and cloud accounts. Strong passwords and antivirus software should both be installed on your computer. But you also need to be cautious of additional routes that thieves and hackers can take to get your personal information.

Here are six common things that criminals can use to steal your information.

Old Smart Phones

Every two and a half years or so, people tend to change their smartphones. There are a lot of outdated phones lying around with sensitive information.

Consider all the data our smartphones contain. Our connections to cloud services are synchronized. Apps for business, banking, and personal wellness are also available on smartphones. On a single tiny gadget, they are all neatly stored.

More “stuff” can now fit on cellphones thanks to advances in semiconductor technology. As a result, it is now simple to save documents and spreadsheets on them. along with countless images and videos.

By discovering an outdated smartphone, a cybercriminal could easily strike data theft gold. They frequently wind up in the trash or at donation centers. Make sure to completely erase any old phones’ data before cleaning them. Additionally, you must properly dispose of them. Electronics shouldn’t be disposed of in the same manner as regular trash.

Wireless Printers

Today, the majority of printers are wireless. They are thus a member of your personal or professional network. It’s practical to print from another room. Your data may be at risk since your printer is connected to the internet.

Printers can hold private papers like contracts or tax records. The majority of individuals neglect to consider printers while implementing data security measures. This exposes them to hacking. When this occurs, a hacker has access to the printer’s data. They could use it to hack into other systems connected to the same network.

Make sure to keep printers’ firmware updated to keep them safe. Install updates as soon as they become available. Additionally, you ought to switch it off when not in use. A hacker cannot access it when it is off.

USB Sticks

Have you ever come across a discarded USB stick? You might have believed you received a free portable storage device. Alternatively, if you’re a kind person, you might try to give the item back to its owner. But before you can find them, you must first see what’s on it.

Never connect a USB device from an unknown source to your computer. This is a tried-and-true hacker technique. These sticks are infected with malware before being dispersed as bait. It can infect your gadget as soon as you connect it in.

Old Hard Drives

Make sure the old computer or detachable drive is clean before you dispose of it. You can’t get rid of your files by yourself. System and program files on computer hard drives may contain additional personal information.

Plus, if you’re still logged into a browser, a lot of your personal data could be at risk. Browsers store passwords, credit cards, visit history, and more.

It’s best to seek out professional assistance from an IT expert to properly delete your computer drive. It will then be suitable for reuse, donation, or trash.

Trash Can

Not all identity theft criminals operate online. On garbage day, they might be prowling the area. Take care when disposing of anything in your trash.

It happens frequently that trash makes identity theft possible. It may include offers for pre-approved credit cards that you previously deemed to be “junk mail.” Voided checks, obsolete bank statements, and insurance documents can all be found in your trash. Any of these things might include the data that fraudsters need to commit their crime or assume your identity.

In this situation, a shredder can be your best friend. Any documents that contain personal information should be destroyed. Before you discard them, complete this. This extra step might prevent an expensive incident from happening.

Children’s IoT Devices

Toys that hackers adore include Wi-Fi-connected Barbies, electronic bears, and smart kid watches. It was discovered that Mattel’s Hello Barbie makes it possible to steal personal information. Additionally, a hacker might eavesdrop on families using the microphone.

Kids frequently desire these futuristic toys. Parents may believe they’re cool, but they don’t worry about the security of their data. After all, these are toys for kids. But this frequently means that they may be simpler to hack. These IoT toys are of particular interest to cybercriminals as they are less likely to be difficult to hack.

Any new internet-connected items you bring into your home should be used with caution. Toys are included! Install each and every firmware update. Additionally, research the item to determine if there has ever been a data breach.

Schedule a Home IT Security Audit & Sleep Better at Night

Don’t let the thought of identity theft keep you up at night.

Give us a call today and schedule a home IT security audit. You’ll be glad you did.

Picture of Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel is an engineer turned business owner of WPG Consulting. He is a techie enthusiast who believes in finding creative IT solutions to solve consumer problems.

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