How to Avoid Identity Theft Online: Hackers are out there right now trying to steal your identity. The crime is so widespread that even the most secure organizations are feeling its heat because hackers are always evolving their techniques for their purpose.
The main motive behind online identity theft is fraud and it can cost you money, time and even your credit status can also be badly damaged. The following tips can decrease your chance of becoming a victim of online identity theft.
Avoid carrying your social security card in your pocket or wallet and also never write your SS number on your checks. Treat your SSN (social security number) as confidential and private and you should only disclose this where it is absolutely necessary.
Take the protection of your PIN seriously and never write it down on a piece of paper or on the debit or credit card itself. Always memorize your PIN.
When you are withdrawing money at the ATM (automated teller machine) or entering your financial information at a computer screen, always try to shield your keypad with one had.
Since your mail may contain financial information, it is recommended that you be prompt in collecting your mail regularly and in case you will not be able to collect it, inform your post office to keep your mail on hold till you are back to collect it yourself.
Always keep track of your billing and payment cycles and in case you see a different pattern or you don’t receive your financial statements in time, try to contact the sender to be on the safe side.
Always ask for printed receipts of your transactions and keep a record of these with yourself. Even receipts for incorrect charges should also be collected and kept in safe custody. Keep looking for any unwanted or unauthorized transactions on your financial statements by comparing these with the actual receipts.
It is an old technique that identity thefts skim your bins for personal information. Therefore always shred or tear up all those credit offers, receipts, bank account statements, and expired credit and debit cards to ensure that you are safe from these dumpster divers.
Your personal information is sacred and keep it at safe place when you are at work or home. This should not be found lying everywhere because by doing this, you will make yourself an easy target for the identity theft.
Remember cyber-criminals will try and steal your Identity by contacting you via internet emails, phone or regular email. Therefore, make it a point that you never respond to all these requests for personal information where you have not originated any transaction. If your bank needs to speak to you, they will do so by writing a letter to you.
Never disclose any of the following personal information by email or over the phone if its from a cold call, even if they say its your bank or credit card company.
- Credit card number
- Bank account number
- Mothers maiden name
- Bank password or any other passwords that are to do with your finances.
- Date of birth
- Social Security number or National insurance number
- Driver’s license number
- Bank secret phrase
- PINs (Personal Identification Numbers)
So if you receive a scam email from a bank or telephone call from a so called bank that are trying to phish personal information from you, tell them to write to you by post and if it’s a email don’t respond or click on any attachments or hyperlinks.
Keep antivirus software updated on your computer and also install a firewall to ensure that you get live alerts when someone tries to steal your information.
Other good software to install is
Your credit report is a very important document. And check it at least yearly. But review it even more frequently if you suspect that your account information has been compromised.
One of the most frequently used techniques for stealing identity is social engineering. This involves befriending by a stranger mostly as an opposite sex and then one you repose trust in that person, he or she will try to extract your personal information from you.
Another effective precaution is to use difficult to guess passwords because hackers use password cracking software with password lists of most commonly used passwords. Other methods used by these cyber criminals is key-logging malware. there is software you can use again key loggers.
Prevent identity theft
Keep changing your password regularly to diminish the damage even if your identity has been stolen. Always use different passwords for different accounts because if you will be using the same password for all kinds of services and websites, the compromise of one account will mean your whole online identity will be stolen because hackers try the successful password on different commonly used services.
Before you start online shopping and purchasing products. Check the link and make sure it is secure Before entering payment details. Look for the padlock symbol on your browser, also check web address and make sure it begins with ‘https://’. This means your on a’secure’ browser SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), always keep your browser updated. There is a browser extension called HTTPS Everywhere it makes browsing more secure by encrypting the web.
That’s it, hope you found this information useful, if so share with your friends and family.