Keep Yourself Safe from Online Fraud

March 12th, 2019
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Credit and identity fraud are growing threats to the personal security of individuals and businesses across the globe. Hackers are getting sneakier every day, so it’s crucial that you protect yourself as a consumer in this rapidly changing online world. While no single method is 100% effective, combining several of the tips below will give you your best shot at staying safe while you shop online. 

Some Things are Best Kept to Yourself

You probably have a few trusted friends and family members that you have considered sharing your personal information with, but you really should keep sensitive data, such as passwords, PINs, and social security numbers, to yourself. Make sure to change your online passwords often, and don’t write them down anywhere if you can help it. Avoid using names and birthdays as part of your passwords because hackers can easily guess those. 

Also, try not to share devices with other people. The risk of staying logged in to their device is high and could compromise your security. If you’re letting other people use your device, the websites that they visit could invite malware or viruses that would allow hackers to steal your sensitive information. 

Go with Your Gut

Hackers tend to play to our emotions, so make sure that you pause for a moment to think about the following questions:

  1. Is it too good to be true? Chances are, it is. Hackers play to our desire for happiness and free items. If something seems too good to be true, do not click on any links. These could lead you to sites that allow malware and viruses onto your computer. 
  2. Is someone using fear to get me to do something on a strict deadline? Another way that hackers try to access your information is through fear tactics. If someone is contacting you through phone or email claiming to need money to help a loved one, do not respond or click on any links. They’ll often try to pressure you into making rash decisions by stressing a strict deadline but do your research before you decide how to proceed. If you’re worried, contact someone you know with computer security experience before taking any action. 
  3. Does someone require you to pay for everything up front? If this is the case, it’s most likely a scam that could harm your credit or identity. Most of the time, this kind of proposition comes across as winning a sweepstakes of some sort. The scammers will tell you that you won, require that you pay taxes and fees up front to receive the rest of the money, then hit the road with your hard-earned cash. If you do choose to pay for something, do it through a reputable third party such as Venmo or PayPal because they have security features in place to keep your information safe. 
  4. Does this look like a trustworthy site? Look for a security tag at the top of the page or the “https” at the beginning of the URL. Both are indicators that you are on a secure site.

Fraudulent activity runs rampant across the internet, but there are things that you can do to protect yourself and your assets. Just like on the football field, the best offense is a good defense; think twice before inputting any sensitive information anywhere online.


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