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How to Prevent Identity Theft in Today’s Digital World

opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Identity has become a highly complex concept in recent years. Our society has evolved from the primitive idea that your identity is your physical body to vital components that track you across time and space: your social security number, birth certificate, passport, and driver’s license. Additionally, as technology has advanced, we have been able to include your digital footprint, online presence, work history and credit information; All of these elements combine to create a unique identity that belongs only to you. But while all of these pieces are yours, you currently have no control over your identity.

Instead, we are in a transition phase. People know that too much of their identity is unsecured on the vast expanses of the Internet, but gaining control of that data is a daunting task. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try at all. Until recently, people relied on a physical safe in their homes to protect their most sensitive personal information, but that’s not practical in a digital world. However, one solution is quickly emerging: the digital identity wallet, which gives each person unprecedented control over every bit of digital data associated with their identity. This technology will set she back in the driver’s seat of your identity.

See also: Protecting your identity. It’s your birthright.

Why people don’t always own their identity

To understand where we are going, we must first know where we are. Each of us has dozens, if not hundreds, of places online where we have shared parts of our digital identity. To create a basic social media account, you often need to enter at least a phone number, email address, and date of birth. Applying for a home loan or proving your identity for government benefits requires more sensitive information. Each of these pieces doesn’t, by itself, represent your identity, but when taken together, each poses significant risks for us — just ask the millions who fall victim to identity theft every year.

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The fact is, too much of our data is controlled by entities other than ourselves. There is no single place where you can store all your data. Instead, you have separate logins for each of your online accounts, and once you’ve given a company access to your data, you can’t take it back (often with disastrous results). For simplicity, we make our passwords easy to remember, reuse them across sites, and store credit card information in our accounts. It’s understandable, but thieves don’t hesitate to steal our data.

Also see: Blockchain, NFTs and the new standard for identity and security

Is there a solution?

Fortunately, companies and government agencies are working to fix this fatal flaw in current practice. The solution is a decentralized identity exchange that stores all your information using blockchain technology. When these wallets are protected by powerful encryption, the result is a very secure way to store and manage personal information. Instead of entering your details on a website, you open your identity wallet app on your phone and authorize it to retrieve only the parts needed for the transaction. You can then revisit permissions at any time and revoke that permission whenever you see fit. As quantum computing and encryption become more mainstream, the result will be an unbreakable “safe” for your digital identity – and only you will hold the key.

The future is here

The technology now exists to enable this identity management. Decentralized blockchain technology can make your information secure and immutable, and biometrics means only you can access your data. The digital format is easy and convenient to send to anyone who needs it for your daily business. Still, blockchain technology means companies or governments don’t necessarily store your data—they just access it. Even the company that created the app doesn’t have access to your information unless you grant it. Digital identity wallets also make your data recoverable: you can revoke access from any third party whenever you need it. With your biometrics, you don’t have to remember another password to access your own data.

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Related Topics: Proof of Identity in an Increasingly Virtualized World

We’ve reached a point where identity theft can be prevented. Many enterprising companies are working hard to make digital identity wallets an accessible and practical application for mainstream use. It’s time to take back control. You are back in control your Identity without going offline. And we can do it in a way that is almost entirely safe.

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