Online frauds are a growing problem. In the last few years, the number of people suffering from this crime has been increasing exponentially. The reasons for this are many, from lack of education to increased digitization and increased mobility. However, there are ways to protect yourself against online frauds.
Here is a list of six steps that will help you keep your personal information safe while going online.
Educate yourself on common fraud techniques
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, you need to stay up to date on the latest online scams that cybercriminals are using. We’ll share with you some common tips, and you can read this helpful article on preventing online frauds from IdentityGuard, but cybercriminals are constantly evolving and changing their methods to keep up with cybersecurity practices.
Thus, you should also be vigilant and sign up for newsletters from the cybersecurity industry.
Securing your devices
The first and most important thing you can do to prevent identity theft is to lock down your devices. Make sure you’ve configured all your devices to be password protected. You can do this by opening the Settings menu on your device, going to Settings > Security & Privacy, and choosing to Enable Password Locked Mode.
This will require a PIN to unlock your phone, tablet, or laptop, but the inconvenience of having to type in a PIN will be worth the added security. If your devices are all set up and locked down, it’s time to focus on your apps. The best way to prevent identity theft is to be diligent about keeping your apps and the content within them secure.
Avoiding phishing scams
With so many people connected on the internet today, a phishing scam is hard to avoid. Hackers look for people on the internet and send you fraudulent emails posing as reputable companies or family members.
According to some sources, on average it takes over 150 hours of man-hours for a company to recover from a data breach and restore all of the stolen data. It is for this reason why it’s important to be cautious with your information online.
Make sure you double-check every email you open or web page you navigate. Don’t click on links or attachments, especially if they don’t look right. It’s also a good idea to reset your passwords on any accounts that you use frequently on the internet.
Using a Payment Platform that Protects Your Credit
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the average credit card company holds on to information about 60 million consumer credit and debit card accounts, representing a combined credit card debt of $1 trillion.
If a credit card or credit bureau fails to protect your information or that of a third-party, it could negatively impact your credit and the ability to take out loans or open new lines of credit. You should review and understand your credit card companies and credit bureau’s security policies and make sure that your information is not at risk by transferring it to a third-party.
Don’t pay outside of shopping platforms
On e-commerce websites with individual sellers, always use the platform’s payment processing. Do not agree to payments outside the e-commerce platform. If the seller asks you to pay outside the e-commerce platform, that’s a red flag.
Include two-step verification for your banking and credit card accounts
This means that you need to input your bank’s or credit card’s username and password, along with a verification code. This will ensure that you can’t be tricked into giving up your password. Two-step verification is often referred to as two-factor authentication. You can find more information on 2FA from PayPal and Bank of America, for example.
Don’t keep passwords and credit card details in Notepad files.
If you have difficulty remembering your passwords and banking information, it’s tempting to just put them in a text file and save it on your computer. This is a terrible idea for several reasons. Number one, if you ever get a trojan virus, it could scan your documents and get all of your passwords.
Secondly, even if you delete the files, they aren’t truly deleted from your hard drive. They can sometimes be recovered with tools that have the ability to retrieve the data.