Identity theft often starts with hackers / malware getting access to a person’s primary email account. This is the key to the cookie jar. Once they have it, they request password resets be sent to the account, unlocking other accounts. Two-factor authentication blocks this. Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and many others offer it. It is especially crucial to use two-factor authentication on your primary email account (assuming it is an online provider, like Gmail) to prevent identity theft. Do it now.
Let’s use Google two-factor authentication as an example. Once implemented, if a login attempt is made for a non-trusted device, it sends a text message to the smartphone on file with a random six-digit code that must be entered for the login to work. You can set specific computers, like your laptop, as trusted devices and it will only send the text message once a month. Also, the smartphone Google sends the code to is also assumed to be safe. All other login attempt must enter the code , and it they don’t have your smartphone, they can’t logon. So, even if a hacker gets your Gmail password because you did something silly like use the same password on multiple accounts, they can’t gain access to it.
Google makes the process easy to do. Once you’ve set it up, it will issue a 16-digit number to be used on your smartphone for Gmai/Calendar/Contacts. Enter that as the new password on the Smartphone and you’re done. And much safer.