Living a safe and secure digital life is more important than ever before. Phishing scammers, malware, and online hackers are all lurking on the web ready to steal your identity.
Online fraud can often be costly, as scammers who get hold of your card details can quickly make several purchases without your knowledge.
If you work in a field where you handle sensitive information, you may also be targeted by corporate espionage. It may sound like something fit for a Hollywood script, but cyber espionage is a real threat to business operations.
Fortunately, you can avoid most fraudsters by taking a few steps to reduce and protect your digital footprint.
What is Identity Theft?
If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, you should act fast to take back control of your accounts and reduce the impact of fraud. Common signs of identity theft include:
- You receive bills or statements for accounts you never opened.
- You do not receive your usual, legitimate bills.
- You’re unexpectedly denied credit.
- You notice unauthorized bank transactions.
- You receive notification that someone has filed tax in your name.
- You receive authentication for accounts you don’t use/own.
Getting ahead of scammers and acting quickly can save you time and money. Scammers can wrack up a bill quickly if they sign up for subscriptions or make purchases with your account.
Fortunately, most banks have a well-established anti-fraud service. Many banks will work with you to recoup lost funds and secure your account against any future attacks.
Deactivate Old Accounts
Fraudsters use multiple lines of attack to steal your online identity. To prevent this, you should deactivate old accounts that you don’t use anymore to reduce and protect your digital footprint.
Deactivating old accounts ensures that your personal details aren’t stored on websites that you no longer use. This is an important digital behavior, as many older websites let their security lapse and aren’t as up-to-date on their anti-fraud software as they should be. This puts you at risk, old accounts can be used to track you down online.
If digital fraudsters use old accounts to find you online, they may use ransomware to extort you. Ransomware is malicious software that prevents you from opening apps and files until you pay hackers to re-establish your access. Crypto ransomware is becoming increasingly common, as may target you if you or your company hold crypto savings.
Phishing is a type of fraud that is used to steal your digital identity and banking details. Phishers usually create emails or other documents that look legitimate but are, in fact, scams. For example, you may receive an email claiming to be sent from your company’s IT department asking for a password. In reality, the person sending the email may be a fraudster, looking to steal your information.
Another, more sophisticated, form of phishing has grown during the pandemic: delivery scams. Delivery scams occur when you receive an email or an SMS that states you have missed a recent delivery. The notification usually contains a link to a page where you are instructed to fill out information or make a payment.
Delivery phishing scams look almost identical to real notifications from your postal service. Small tip-offs like a strange URL, poor grammar, or a payment request usually give these sites away.
You can avoid phishing by ignoring any emails that are not sent from a legitimate account. Instead, get in touch with the person who has purportedly sent you the email directly, and ensure it is them. If you suspect you have been targeted by a delivery phishing scam, head to the delivery service’s website and use your legitimate login details to check if you have really missed a package.
You should change your login details after receiving a phishing scam. A fraudster who knows that you are subscribed to a particular service/website might be tempted to try other forms of hacking if phishing doesn’t work. Quickly refreshing your password can help prevent fraud and give you greater peace of mind.
Improve Password Management
Despite frequent warnings, many folks continue to use the same password for multiple online accounts. Using a single password may be easier to remember, but it opens you up to cybersecurity threats and fraud.
You can improve your password management by using features like Google Chrome’s Password Manager. Password Manager can be used to see if any of your current passwords have been compromised so you can change them. Password Manager can also tell you if you have repeats of username/password combinations, so you can make changes to ensure that hackers can’t gain access to your digital footprint.
Cleaning up your digital footprint can make it harder for scammers to steal your identity or target you with ransomware. If you notice any signs of fraud, act quickly and contact anyone who may need to know about the attack. Taking a proactive approach can help you avoid accusations of tax fraud and may prevent costly, unauthorized, purchases.
You may also want to read,
- Ways to Keep Your Business Data Safe
- 9 Strategies and Tips for Improving Your Business’s Security in the Cloud
- WP maintenance tasks – what to do and how often
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