The internet is a dangerous place. Even a small mistake can cost you heavily. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for some loophole in your system to take over your online identity. Thus, it becomes very necessary to take measure to avoid such identity thefts.
What is an online identity theft?
Online Identity Theft is when a cybercriminal gains access to your accounts and begins to impersonate you, either for financial gain or for some other motive. Identity theft can cause you severe troubles since any activity carried out by the criminals using your account can be blamed onto you. This can lead even to prosecutions in several cases.
How do I prevent identity theft online?
Fortunately for you, we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to enable you to prevent identity thefts. Keep reading to find out!
1. Use anti-virus and anti-malware software
Always keep an antivirus, preferably bundled with an antimalware, program installed on your system. Keep updating the virus database. Set your antiviruses for periodic scans and checks to detect any unwanted entity on your system. Also, use firewalls and keep your OS updated to avoid any cyber-attack.
2. Encrypt personal information on your devices
Many have a habit of storing their passwords, social security numbers, account details on a text or word file on their computers or phones. NEVER DO THAT! If you need to keep such files, then always use some encryption method to encrypt such data. Or better, keep private information in a removable device and store it safely somewhere else.
3. Be wary of phishing sites
Scammers can use phishing websites to trick you into revealing your important personal information. They may present you with a web page which bears an uncanny resemblance to your online banking site or your social media site. Once you log in, your login data is made available to such hackers. These hackers can then gain access to your online identity and wreak havoc. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and using sites which looks unfamiliar. Always double verify the URL of the websites.
4. Be careful while clicking on emails
Avoid any email that looks sketchy. Such email can contain links to some phishing websites or take you to a site where any malicious program can be added to your system.
5. Use different Passwords for different Websites
Never use the same password for multiple online services. This grants access to all your online services in case the scammers manage to guess/access your password. This makes it easier for the scammers to guess your password if they manage to figure out even one of them. You may even use a password manager to store your login credentials safely. Keep changing your passwords at regular intervals.
6. Use only reputed website for shopping
Use only those websites for shopping which have established a reputation in the market, to avoid identity theft online. Never use a new website or a website that doesn’t use SSL encryption on the payment page.
7. Don’t share personal information on social media
Avoid sharing personal information on your social media profiles. Scanned copies of your IDs or credit cards should never be posted. Also, never reveal personal information like favorite food, favorite pets etc. These information are often used in Security Questions and can be used to reset your passwords.
8. Secure Your Wireless Network
Always keep your Wi-Fi password-protected to avoid entry of any suspicious entity on your network. For added security, you can also enable access for those devices only whose MAC Addresses have been approved by you.
9. Use a VPN
Using a VPN is also one of the ways to prevent identity thefts online. Data sent over a VPN connection are encrypted and hence are less likely to get revealed to the hackers.
10. Keep Your Smartphone Protected
Use an antivirus program and use password locks. Enable remote wiping of your information on the phone. This will let you to remotely wipe out all your information, in case your phone gets lost or stolen.
Recent years have seen an unprecedented surge in cases of online identity thefts. Thus, one must be always careful while conducting your business, online. Just keep the above tips to protect yourself against such scammer and prevent identity theft.