The thought of being a victim of online identity thefts normally send chills down the spin of many. A large number of people have their personal data, social security numbers and even credit card information intercepted by hackers and as a result, they have endured many losses and suffering.
What Kind Of Information Is Stolen Online?
Identity theft online features different kinds of personal information theft and this is achieved through an avenue for suspicious behavior. Such behavior includes phishing, scams, and viruses and can also be physical such as individuals accessing your information from your computer, or lost credit cards.
How Does One Prevent Identity Theft?
Whether, you want to protect yourself from simple annoying hacking which can be resolved within a few hours to the all-out massive scale online theft, measures do exist to prevent and counter-online theft. The key is always being vigilant and adhere to them.
With the ongoing fear of online identity theft, many of us especially the non-technological savvy, ask the same question every day – how do I protect myself from online identity theft? The answer is quite easy and practical.
1. Be Vigilant
Always stay up-to-date and informed on how to spot out scams, spams and viruses. Although many scams are easy to identify, some may be difficult to spot out. Look for leading information or any think that raises an eyebrow and that will be your number one indication.
Emails and notifications on deals that seem too good to be true are also a key indication. Many scammers will also have minor details that can be easily spotted out by a careful eye – look for things like misspelled words and incoherent sentences.
Additionally, majority of links sent to your emails are most likely to be scams, so avoid them! Important correspondence such those with banking or other financial institutions will never ask for personal information over emails and even if the email is legitimate, always cross check with an official from the bank.
2. Security for Electronic Devices
Purchase and install up-to-date security for your electronic devices such as your personal computer and smartphone. Go for the good malware protection software to scan your devices around the clock, block out all suspicious messages, access and to notify you of any malicious behavior. Installing two softwares to supplement and audit each other also helps achieve at least 90% + protection.
3. Strong Passwords and Verification Process
We all come across websites and platforms that normally ask us to create strong passwords – and let’s admit it, we all get naively annoyed. However, this practice enhances safety for our personal information and activities online.
Hackers can easily guess weak passwords by using algorithm software and sometimes, because most of us use the same password for everything so that we can easily remember it. So it’s wise to get a strong password with at least 10 characters.
Additionally, using a two-step verification process for your log-in also enhances security. The program is always on alert and you are on top of all log-in activities. So when there is a suspicious log-in, it is easy for you to know.
4. Monitor credit Card and Financial Information
It is good to always track your credit report so you have up-to-date information on your credit card activities and funds. An individual has a right to up to 3 free credit reports a year. Thus, if you plan right, they will suffice.
However, if you suspect any malicious activity during any time of the ear, it is was to immediately get your report even if you have depleted all three free chances, simply pay to get it, it is definitely worth it. You can get your credit report by requesting via mail, too-free number or through the bureaus’ highly secured websites.
5. Credit Score Review
Review your credit score from time to time to allow you to spot out any unusual activity. Your credit score will let you know if there are any new credit cards, loans or transactions that you may not have performed. If you spot them out, act immediately to tackle the problem.
6. Freeze your credit
If you notice any unusual activity or if you are a victim of theft or burglary, the first thing to do is to always freeze your credits. Thieves will always use your personal information for financial gain or criminal activity. This includes opening a new line of credit. Freezing your credit prevents opening a new line of credit without additional information and paperwork.
7. Don’t Use Your Card On All Platforms Online
Always know the website to which you are making a transaction using your card online. If you don’t know much about the company’s reputation or you have certain doubts, the best thing to do is to NOT make the transaction. Also check on security of the website, the website should be built to protect your financial information. Ask question such as does it use the safer https rather than the older http?
8. Let Personal Data Be Personal
The most important rule is to never share personal information such s social security numbers and credit card information, with anyone. Also stay alert when dealing with your personal information, for example, never let your card out of site when you pay for a bill at a restaurant or bar.
9. Be Detailed
As you equip yourself with more knowledge on how to say safe online, you will start noticing how attentive you are. This helps you to watch out for signs of trouble, which most of the time are common.
Look out for false information on reports and records, high-interest rates for no reason, demand notices for products you did not purchase and many more. Also unusual physical activities can be show signs that compel you to act quickly for example receiving credit cards and products you did not order.
10. Be Tech-Intelligent
Avoid aces personal data and financial information on your online platforms over public computers and Wi-Fi connection. These are common ways t expose your vulnerability to hackers and thieves. Using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) tools helps to protect you from such vulnerability on public networks. However, if you are not a tech-savvy, best thing to do is to AVOID accessing personal information over public networks.
With the growing tech, many counter measures are developed to fight online theft, however; also the perpetrators develop new gimmicks to grow this heinous activity. As much as the measures don’t guarantee 100% protection, they are excellent ways to reduce risk by a high percentage.
As long as the steps above are adhered to, you are much safer and least likely to be a victim of online identity theft. With the ever-evolving technology today, it is also wise to keep up with up-to-date information on online activities and safety.