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12 Ways To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

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12 Ways To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Identity theft has been going on for centuries, but with the development of the Internet, it has only become easier to steal other people’s personas. It’s very common to hear about someone’s identity getting stolen along with their bank information. These criminals use fake identities to steal money from their victims.

If you don’t want to be a victim of this scheme, here are some ways that you can protect yourself from identity thieves.

1.Don’t post personal information online.

Your name should be enough to reveal your identity to the people who actually know you. Posting your home address, telephone number, email address, and other social media profiles all in one place can make it very easy for thieves to duplicate your identity. As much as possible avoid sharing those details publicly, especially your bank information and social security number.

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2.Don’t use the same email and password for all of your accounts.

A lot of people make this mistake, which only enables thieves to access more of their accounts. Using the same email and password for all of your social media profiles may seem acceptable but with the prevalent security breaches online, it’s not a risk worth taking. Mix and match your email and passwords for all of your online accounts.

3.Use mobile verification.

Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other select networks have mobile verification that notifies you via SMS if your account was accessed in a suspicious place, like abroad or at a different state. The person who logged in will also be asked for a verification number which he or she won’t be able to access since they don’t have your mobile phone.

4.Save your passwords in a secret place.

Using multiple passwords can make it hard for you to remember all of them, but you can save a copy in a secure location. Instead of saving them on your computer, write your passwords down in a small notebook which you keep safely in your home. You can also write them in unusual places like at the back of your favorite book.

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5.Don’t throw away bills and other documents that contain sensitive information.

Bank statements, utility bills, and other documents that contain your name, account number, birth date, social security number, and other personal data should never be thrown in the garbage. You can burn or shred them so that no one can get your information from them.

6. Don’t give away your ID numbers.

If anyone online asks for your ID number for any particular reason, don’t give it. If you know the person and the reason for asking your ID number is valid, you can meet somewhere and share information there. However, ID numbers are only needed for particular transactions, so you should already be wary if anyone asks you for it.

7.Be careful when sharing on social media.

What you share can be used against you, especially if it’s accessible to the public. Identity thieves can create a brand new account and use your name, photos, and other updates to make their accounts look legitimately yours. Likewise, if you always post where you’re going or what you’re doing, the thieve can take the plot to the next level and find an opportunity to steal from your home.

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8.Mix up your activities and routines.

Identity thieves can easily track your routines if you do the same things repetitively, especially if you post about them online. A smart thief can use these routines to make your fake identity even more convincing. It’s also easier to steal personal paraphernalia from you if you’re easy to track down.

9.Be mindful about unusual activity in your accounts.

If you see a status update on your wall which you didn’t write, it’s time to change your password. Anything that doesn’t make sense should already alert you. Don’t be lenient, especially if you have plenty of assets that can be stolen.

10.Install a security system in your home.

Some identity thieves are also stalkers and they might frequent your home without your knowledge. Having a security system will keep thieves out, especially those who are already very familiar with your house.

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11.Report any threatening or weird messages that you receive.

If you have a stalker, it’s likely that you will receive usual messages like “I saw you” or “I know what you did”. Don’t ignore these. Report them to your network provider so you can change your mobile number or block that number.

12.Don’t trust people easily—especially on the Internet.

A virtual identity is very easy to copy, and if you’re not careful, you might be the one handing identity thieves the information they need. Be mindful about the people you interact with online. You should also have a secure connection to keep your computer protected at all times. Using a SSD cloud VPS hosting service will help you achieve this.
On the Internet, safety is a major concern. You should always be careful with your personal information and take precautionary measures to avoid identity theft and other cybercrimes. If you don’t give thieves what they need, they will never be able to steal anything from you. Last, but not least, be careful when buying products online.

Featured photo credit: Ways To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft via google.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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