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Identity theft

Top 10 easy ways to prevent identity theft

Do you know what Identity theft is, and how to prevent it? If the answer is No, then we’ve got your back.

So what is identity theft? Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission to make financial transactions, or purchases. There are many ways that Identity theft is committed, but it all ends with the victims suffering from financial loss and even reputational damage.

You might think that it’s not easy for people to get hold of your sensitive information, or that you will not be affected, but it is one of the most common cyber threats around.

In 2019, over 167,000 people have reported a fraudulent credit card account was opened with their information and without their consent.

Cybercriminals are creating scam posts and emails with fake information to trick you into providing personal information.

In the past few months, we’ve seen a high number of scams lurking people into revealing personal information. Here are the increasingly common Covid-19 scams

  • Fraudulent e-commerce vendors for masks, sanitizers and test kits
  • Fraudulent investment sites
  • Phishing and vishing through update emails, texts and voicemails
  • Spoofed government and health organization communications
  • Fake vaccines or “miracle cures”
  • Scam employment posts
  • Phony charity donation offers

 Minimizing the risk of identity theft depends primarily on your attentiveness in guarding your privacy. Here are the top 10 ways of preventing Identity theft.

  1. Password management

One of the essential steps that you should not ignore is the practice of having strong passwords for your online accounts. Make sure you use strong and unique passwords.  Avoid using date of birth, pet’s name, car number which can be easily guessed by the criminals.

It’s also important that you don’t use the same passwords for all your accounts. If you did, attackers will be able to access all of your other accounts. We recommend to using a password manager to manage and create strong passwords at once.

2. Avoid posting sensitive information online

You never know that what you posted online can be used against you in future or who is watching you online and where your information will end up. Pay attention whilst posting any information in comments, private messengers, social posts, check-in’s, photos or any other information online.

3. Look out for phishing scams

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for innovative ways to steal from you.  Phishing scams are one of the oldest cyber threats, but still cause a lot of damage.

The most common phishing scam appears:

    • When you shop online
    • Via links in email
    • Access social media accounts

Though phishing uses multiple channels to get our credentials, email spam campaigns remain the  most used method. Be attentive and don’t fall for the hook.

4. Add an extra layer of security for banking and financial transactions

Many of us don’t care to use the right security protocols whilst sharing personal information like financial statements, but this can land you into trouble. Make sure you always share such documents via end of end encrypted security solutions, or add additional security layers like passwords.  

5. Keep your software updated

Make sure you keep your systems and devices (mobiles, laptops, computers) updated with the latest security patches that are available. This will help you cover up any security gaps that come across.

6. Install Antivirus and Firewalls software to protect your computer

Cybercriminals use multiple tactics to get hold of your personal information.  There are advance malware and spyware tools like key loggers which are capable to retrieve sensitive information from your device without your knowledge.

Make sure you install antivirus and firewalls to protect your data and yourself from cyber attacks.

7. Beware what you enter while you shop online

The online shopping sites are the most convenient for cyber criminals.  It’s just some clicks and we get everything one need. Shop only from trusted websites

Also make sure that you activate a second-authentication factor when paying online. We recommend using separate card specially for safe online shopping.

8. Don’t fall for Tele-Theft

Be wary anytime you are asked for personal information via phone call, don’t’ give out information unless it’s necessary or if the phone call was initiated by you. If someone contacts you from a trusted source like your bank or credit card company, ask for an official number to call back- and make sure to verify the same.

9. Destroy any documents or papers you don’t need anymore

We all have important data in our homes and offices. They can be sensitive documents like your medical report, passwords, bank statement or confidential work document. There are times when you no longer need them, so you may not care where they are laundering, but remember they can be important for criminals and can be used against you. Make sure you destroy them.

10. Be aware when you visit ATM

Let’s say you are in front of an ATM machine or at the local shop and try to withdraw some money or just insert your PIN to pay. Many times there are people behind you waiting for their turn. Look around before entering your personal pin number and don’t leave any belonging behind.

Everyone with online accounts, social security number can be the victim of identity theft. The most common victims are children and senior citizens who lack awareness in cyber security matters. People, who are aware about the threats and always check for identity theft warning signs like unknown credit cards charges or new account opening messages are less likely to fall for identity theft. To find out how you can keep yourself updated on the latest scams, and protect your identity, speak to our sales representatives.

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