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How not to get hacked in 2019

A guide to all the latest cyber criminal tricks, and how to beat them

Identity crisis

Someone fraudulently impersonating you and stealing your identity isn't just a hassle - it can be a huge, life-altering problem. Identity theft can lead to massive financial issues if the thief decides to take out loans, credit cards or mortgages under your name. Unfortunately, the internet has made it easier than ever for a fraudster to gather enough details about you to impersonate you, thanks to tactics like phishing or hacking your email account.

Identity thieves can also use your own social media against you, scouring your online profiles for information like your address, place of employment, salary, pet's names, childhood homes and much more. This can make it worryingly easy for someone to impersonate you even if you've never met.

The damage from identity theft can be long-lasting, too; if a fraudster trashes your credit rating by taking out bogus loans in your name and then defaulting on them, it can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming to repair your credit rating to its previous level. This in turn, can make it harder to take out legitimate loans of your own.

The fix: Protect your privacy

Aside from following the rest of the steps in this guide to avoid giving hackers and fraudsters access to your accounts, you can protect yourself from identity theft by locking down your online profiles to make sure that only your friends and family are able to view the things you share on social media.

There are numerous ways to lock down your social media; you can anonymise your public profile, giving non-specific or fictional details for things like your location and date of birth, or you can protect access to your posts. On Twitter and Instagram, you can adjust your privacy settings so that you have to approve followers before they can see your posts, while Facebook allows you to set the privacy level of your posts, determining whether they can be seen by just your friends, by friends of friends, or by everyone.

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