7 tips to prevent identity theft online
There are many ways for hackers and scammers to capture details that will allow them to assume your identity online. In some cases, the perpetrator steals another person’s identity simply to cause harassment. However, there are also identity thieves whose motivation is to steal as much money as possible from unsuspecting victims.
To keep your online identity secure, it helps to understand how these criminals operate. With the right education, you can learn how to avoid online pitfalls that lead to scammers committing scams on your behalf.
1. Phishing scams
Phishing is one of the most common ways fraudsters can commit identity theft. Never enter your details into a website unless you are absolutely sure it is legitimate and secure. If you receive an email or message claiming that there is a problem with one of your accounts, do not click on the link provided. If this is a phishing scam, it will take you to a duplicate website where the scammer can steal your login details.
Always go directly to the website of the relevant company or service provider. You can also contact a legal representative to determine if the contact was genuine. If a message alert asks you for sensitive personal information, such as your username and password, it’s almost certainly a phishing scam.
2. Protection from viruses
Professional scammers also use compromised websites to hack into your device and track your online activities. If the scammer is skilled enough in using and deploying software through a website, they can install what is called a key-logger on your device. Once installed, the hidden key-logger will record your every keystroke – including your bank and shopping website logins.
The fraudster then accesses your accounts and performs various actions, including making online purchases. Most scammers at this level are careful to keep their purchases small at first so as not to arouse suspicion. However, once he or she has access to another account, there’s a very real possibility that they’ll start buying expensive items before you notice there’s a problem.
3. Unique passwords
Password etiquette plays an important role in preventing identity theft. If you use the same password for every account, it’s easier for fraudsters to gain access to your bank or credit card account. It only takes one compromised account for all your other accounts to be compromised. However, if you use unique passwords, you can limit the potential damage.
A long password with a mix of characters provides additional protection. For example, “Password1” is a weak password, while “T47!Gh1S?952” is much harder for a cheater to crack. Don’t worry if you can’t remember your password. Use a password manager to store all your unique logins and remember to change your passwords every 30 days.
4. Legitimate Websites
Most people use a search engine to compare the price of items they want to buy. Your search will usually list websites that sell the item at the top of the page. These websites are usually reputable, but it’s always wise to check that your purchase will be secure. The first thing to look for is “https” in the website address. This means that the website provides a secure connection and encrypts all the data you enter. It also helps to look for reviews of the retailer to get an idea of the user experience.
Although https is designed to protect users from fraudsters who want to steal personal data, it has vulnerabilities. To add another layer of security, it is recommended to use a virtual private network (VPN). This software is available for purchase and will mask your location as well as provide encryption for any information you share on the web.
5. Keep your information private
You wouldn’t walk into a busy public place and start shouting your personal information. So why do it online? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your online profiles are your safe space. However, scammers are lurking everywhere, just waiting to steal valuable information that you voluntarily post in groups, forums, friends’ posts, and even on your own profile.
6. Warning signs of online theft
You should always play an active role in monitoring your important accounts. Make sure you receive your statements each month and check recent purchases periodically. Banks, online retailers and mobile phone bills are just some of the services scammers are targeting. Stay vigilant and catch identity thieves before they wipe out your bank account.
7. SSL Certificates
SSL certificates are like small secret data files that provide a secure connection between the server and the browser. The right SSL certificate provides encryption and authentication. This means that you can be sure that you are sending information to the correct server and not to a hacker trying to steal your information. A wildcard SSL certificate covers your site’s domain and its subdomains. Here is a list of cheap wildcard SSL certificate providers that save you money. Go ahead and secure your website.
#tips #prevent #identity #theft #online