6 Things That Can Lead to Identity Theft

25 Jul 2023


As an IT and cybersecurity firm with years of experience, the Swift Chip team sees it all. In this blog, we want to use that firsthand knowledge to talk about identity theft and how important it is to protect yourself.

Many people don’t think it can ever happen to them and leave themselves vulnerable. That’s a mistake!

Have you ever contemplated the threat your child’s toy could pose to your personal data? Or how about that inconspicuous trash can perched outside your door? Both possible goldmines for those who are dedicated to trying to steal your personal information!

Cybersecurity goes beyond beefing up your computer and cloud account defenses. Our homes are dotted with unsuspecting items that, if overlooked, could serve as entryways to your personal information.

And who said you didn’t bring work home with you? There’s likely valuable company information at your home or the home of other employees. That’s why it’s important for everyone to be aware of potential security threats, even at home!

Talk to us about ongoing cybersecurity education for your company!

Let’s delve into 6 common, yet often ignored, things that could turn into tickets for an identity theft free-for-all, potentially causing damage to you and your business.

How Can a Thief Steal Your Identity? Items You’re Forgetting About

You’re Using an Old Smartphone

The average lifespan of a smartphone is about 2.5 years. That’s a graveyard of old devices brimming with sensitive data. 

Old smartphones, now eclipsed by your shiny new gadget, may still be loaded with personal data, access to cloud services, banking apps, business apps, personal health apps, and more.

Before tossing out or donating these discarded digital information troves, make sure you properly wipe them clean of all data. 

Old smartphones are not everyday garbage, so dispose of them responsibly!

Recognizing Phishing Scams

Eliminate the Obvious You’re Using an Old Smartphones

Phishing pages often have telltale signs that can give them away: Poorly designed websites, mismatched colors, or unusual URL structures. Those are all red flags!

Trust your instincts, and if something seems off, it probably is.

You Have a Wireless Printer

Wireless printers are undeniably convenient, but they’re also a part of your home or work network and store sensitive documents. 

Given their generally overlooked status in data security setups, they’re a prime target for hackers to extract data or even penetrate other devices in your network.

Stay ahead of the game by consistently updating your printer’s firmware and powering it down when not in use.

You Use USB Sticks

USB Sticks | Swift Chip

Think twice before plugging a stray USB stick into your device. This seemingly innocent piece of hardware could be bait, loaded with malware ready to spring into action once connected to your computer.

There’s Old Hard Drives Lying Around

Got an old computer or drive you’re about to discard? A simple file deletion isn’t enough. 

Hard drives harbor a wealth of data in system and program files, and your browser could still hold onto passwords, credit card information, and more.

Seek the help of an IT professional to thoroughly wipe your hard drives clean before disposal or donation.

You’re the Proud Owner of a Trash Can

Your curbside trash can hold more than just banana peels and soda cans. 

Just think about it… It’s common for people to throw away pre-approved credit card offers, old bank statements, or insurance paperwork. This makes your trash can a potential identity theft minefield.

Shred any documents containing personal information before disposing of them, and you’ll spare yourself a potential headache down the line.

Your Children’s Toys (With Digital Capabilities)

Children's Toys (With Digital Capabilities)

Remember when toys were just toys? Gone are the days a simple stuffed animal is the favorite and most prominent toy! 

Now, your child’s devices can connect to Wi-Fi, hold conversations, and more. 

Unfortunately, their playful exterior could cloak potential cybersecurity threats. Given that they’re children’s toys, security may not always be a priority, making them prime targets for cybercriminals.

You’re asking “how can a thief steal your identity”, but with easy access like this, they’re likely asking how could they not, given such an easy opportunity…

That’s why it’s crucial to exercise caution with any internet-connected device in your home, toys included. Regularly install firmware updates and do your research on the device’s security track record.

Don’t Let Identity Theft Rob Your Peace of Mind

With all this talk of identity theft, it’s natural to feel a tad uneasy. But we’re here to help. 

Swift Chip has experience helping people and the businesses they work for, ensuring better security and tailored programs. Get in touch with us today to schedule an IT security consultation—it’s free!


Swift Chip provides managed IT and cybersecurity services for a wide variety of companies in fields with stringent privacy and compliance requirements.

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