How to prevent Identity theft
Electronic banking has made banking conveniently easy and accessible for people not to keep their money at home, but robbers are also devising methods and new ways to rob you without visiting your home by engaging in internet fraud. This article aim to show you How to prevent identity theft.
Internet fraud is the use of internet service or software with internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advance of them. One of the most common ways of perpetrating internet fraud is identity theft. Identity theft is when a fraudster obtains and uses another person’s personal data by deception, with intent to commit fraud for personal gain. These fraudsters are mainly interested in your confidential data’s like User-id, password, ATM card number and PIN, email ID and password, Bank Account number, Internet Banking credentials and other valuable information.
There are several techniques they employ, both technical and nontechnical to achieve this. Some of them are.
- E-mail spam: also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is a subset of electronic spam involving nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. The messages may contain disguised links that appear to be for familiar websites but in fact lead to phishing web sites or sites that are hosting malware.
- Phishing: the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, online.
- Shoulder Surfing at ATM and POS Terminals: Where someone watches from behind as you punch in your PIN
- Dumpster Diving: This is when the fraudsters ransack waste bins for documents that where not properly destroyed/Shredded containing confidential data.
- Key Logging: a type of surveillance software (considered to be either software or spyware) that has the capability to record every keystroke you make to a log file, usually encrypted. A keylogger recorder can record instant messages, e-mail, and any information you type at any time using your keyboard.
- Card Skimming: The act of using a skimmer to illegally collect data from the magnetic stripe of a credit, debit or ATM card. This information, copied onto another blank card’s magnetic stripe, is then used by an identity thief to make purchases or withdraw cash in the name of the actual account holder.
- Social Engineering: in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.
- Hacking: any technical effort to manipulate the normal behavior of network connections and connected systems by exploiting vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems or resources.
Here are some ways to protect you from Identity Theft:
- Choose good passwords and PINs that no one would be able to guess easily even if they were privy to other parts of your personal information. Mix words and numbers that are familiar to you, but disguise them in a hard-to-guess way. Combine both Capital and Small letters and also add special characters like the question mark, Apostrophe etc.
- Protect your computer because many identity thieves now use complex software such as spyware and keyloggers to obtain sensitive information such as passwords and login details without the user’s knowledge. If you don’t see anything going wrong with your computer doesn’t mean that it is safe to use. Unlike viruses and adware, many spyware and keylogger programs are designed for covertness, so that they can gather as many passwords and sensitive data as possible.
- Any email seeking certain things such as passwords, account numbers or credit/social security details should be an immediate red flag for you. The best response is to report to the service provider directly and ask to be sure if nothing is worng.
- When you sell or give away your computer, be sure to wipe out all of your information first. Ideally, restore it to the factory settings.
- You normally have a sites URL as http://www.thesite.com, make sure when using your credit card to shop online that the site is a secured one. A secured site should look like this https://www.thesite.com (notice the extra ‘s’ after the ‘http’). If the lock icon encryption is not there, do not give out credit details. Also, check that the site is legitimate––never go to a site from a random email and start purchasing. Go to the site through a known URL or by searching for it on a search engine first.
- Avoid opening emails that don’t make sense to you or that come from people or organizations that you don’t recognize. Viruses or worms can be hidden in emails. Be doubly suspicious if the email ends up in your spam folder. And always have your virus protection updated and turned on.
- That person behind you in line at the ATM or the supermarket may just be another shopper, or they could be paying close attention to you in hopes of seeing your account balance or PIN. Shade the monitor area with your hand when typing in your PIN and try to block others’ view of the screen. It’s even a good idea to do this when no one is around; some thieves use binoculars or install cameras so they can watch you from far away.
- Don’t always move around with your credit cards, blank cheques or written personal information, unless you want to use them in case they got stolen or missing.
- Don’t just throw your old billing statements and other documents containing important information into your garbage. There are “dumpster divers” who are willing to wade through old coffee grounds and rotten orange peels to get their hands on your data. Invest in a crosscut paper shredder and completely destroy any piece of paper that has your credit card number, or your bank account number on it.
- Finally, the moment you realize you are a victim, contact your bank immediately and have your credit cards blocked. Follow your banks’ advice and be sure to keep a record of the conversations, including names of people you speak to, their rank and the time and date. Also report to the police.