Online fraud is all over the internet. Unsuspecting surfers won’t know that just by unwittingly giving away their private information, their identity and financial information can be stolen and used by criminals. Cyber criminals would use fake websites, unsolicited email messages, message boards, chat rooms and yes, even your social media account to get access to your details.
Phishing scams and Pharming scams abound, and now is the time, more than ever to actively avoid attempts at online identity theft by arming yourself with knowledge to combat online fraud. We’ve compiled some tips from a private investigator with Haywood Hunt to avoid identity theft online below for you.
Open Attachments with Caution
Senders that you don’t know can easily send you virus-laden files via email. If you received an email with an attachment (especially if the attachment is an .exe file) and the subject or sender seems off, better just ignore the email or mark it as spam.
Don’t Allow File Sharing On Your Computer
If your computer is open or connected to a network, it makes you vulnerable to attackers. By disabling file sharing, you have the power to grant access only to people you choose.
Regularly Check Bank Statements
Not all banks alert you if they find any suspicious activity in your account, so you better be checking your bank balance and statement regularly.
Have a Strong Password
And to be on the safe side, make sure that you use a different password for your various accounts. You won’t give a thief your house key or leave it hanging by the front door, right? Do the same for your online accounts.
Never Share Your Pin Code with Anyone
No matter if someone says they work with your bank or they will close your account if you don’t give them your pin. People who do that are crooks pretending to be bank employees.
Don’t Keep Your Financial Info on Your Device
If your device gets stolen or hacked, any cybercriminal can easily access your bank.
The website should not share your information or try to sell it. Better yet, simply do not enter your private details if you don’t trust the website.
List Down the Vendors You Buy From
If you have the company’s address and telephone number, getting your money back will be easier in case of unauthorized purchase or charge.
Double Check Websites Before Entering Personal Details
Fake websites that look like a legitimate site you want to visit is a common occurrence in online fraud. Open websites in a new browser and look for the security ‘lock’ icon at the URL to avoid pharming websites.
Lookout for Security Seal
Authenticated websites have the seal and signify that they were checked and free from malware.
Keep Your Software Updated
Your OS provider is most likely issuing periodic updates to help protect your device and keep in functioning well. Make sure that you install and use these security updates.
Don’t Send Money for Someone Else
Money launderers can try to coax you to send money in their behalf by sending you a fake cheque. This is a common money laundering and online fraud scheme.
Use Encrypted Websites
Or try to as much as possible. Websites that start with https and/or with a padlock icon are generally safe because it means transactions are encrypted and secure.
Check Papers for Financial Data Before Throwing Away
Paper copies of your bank details, log-in information, and even credit card statements should be shredded before being thrown in the trash.
Double Check Email Addresses
Legitimate businesses do not use free email service providers when sending official correspondence. If someone claims to be from your bank and yet uses gmail, yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and the like, report that person.
Report Online Fraud
Any suspected activity of online fraud or identity theft should be reported as soon as possible. Quite a lot of organized internet crimes have been foiled because of concerned people who reported suspected cases of such.