Protect yourself from online identity theft

Just like ordinary burglars and thieves, online criminals have different methods they use to steal personal information and take the money. Since you probably would not give the burglar the key to your house, make sure to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft online. We bring you some of the common tricks to protect yourself from fraud and online identity theft.

Be careful when replying mails

Make sure never to respond to suspicious e-mail, instant message or a web page that asks for personal or financial information. Always be vigilant when in messages or on websites are asked your personal information or when the messages indicate the unknown web-page that is acquiring any of the following data:

  • Usernames
  • Passwords
  • personal identification number
  • bank account numbers
  • complete credit card numbers
  • maiden name of your mother
  • your birthday

Do not fill out forms or screens for application that may lead connections from these messages. If someone suspicious asked to fill out a form and provide your personal information, do not be tempted to start filling it out. Even if you do not press the “Submit”, you may still send your information identity thieves thus you have started entering information into their forms.

If you see a message from someone else you know, but the message does not seem to come from that person, perhaps the account of that person is threatened by the cybercriminals who are trying to get money from you or your data, so be careful how you answer. A common tactic is that you are required to immediately send money to that person because it supposedly is in trouble abroad or her allegedly stolen phone so you can call. The message also may ask you to click a link to view the image, article or video that will actually take you to a site that can steal your information, so think before you click.

Protect your password

Never enter your password if you are on a site by following a link for a suspicious e-mail or chat. Even if you think that it is a reliable site, for example, your bank, it is better to go directly to the site via a bookmark or by typing the website address in the browser. Do not send your password via email and do not share it with others. Your passwords are the key to your accounts and services online, so you should be careful who you give it to, the same as in life offline. Legitimate sites and services will not ask you to send them your password by email, so do not respond if you get such a request.

Given their importance, you should always think twice before you choose to share your password with others, even when it comes to friends and family. When sharing the password, the higher the risk that someone will misuse your accounts by accessing the data you do not want to access or use your account in a way that does not approve of. For example, if you share with someone your email password, that person might read your personal e-mail, try to use your account to access other online services, you may be using, for example, banking or social sites, or use your account for impersonation on your behalf. Finally, when you share your password with someone, you must rely on the fact that that someone keeps the password securely and will not intentionally or accidentally share it.

Logging on networks

Be careful when you are prompted to log on to the network.  Check the signals on the connection with the website. At first look it seems the URL in the address bar of the browser as the actual URL. Also check begins if the web address begins with https: //, which means that the connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to “sniff” or manipulation. Some browsers in the address bar with https: // display a padlock icon in order to clearly indicate that the connection is encrypted and that you are connected securely.

Report suspicious and fraud emails

Most email services providers have the option of reporting any suspicious emails. If you report any suspicious messages, the mail provider will block that users and prevent further delivery of its e-mail, and in that way prevent abuse of the easier it will stop future attacks.

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