Identity theft is a real risk, just like being robbed on the street, but that should not be a reason to give up the benefits of services offered on the internet such as bank transfers, purchases, etc.
As in the real world, in the virtual world you can be sure if certain basic prevention and safety measures are taken. Surely you would not want to go to an ATM in the middle of the most dangerous neighborhood in the city at midnight, well, the same thing happens with Internet transactions.
Here are a few basic tips that will help you stay risk free in the virtual world of the internet;
Open Emails with Caution
Email is a widely used source for identity theft, specifically using a technique for obtaining confidential information known as phishing. You have to take precautions to identify false or phishing emails.
Use Direct URLs to Access Bank’s Website
It is a good idea to type the URL of your bank’s website every time you want to access it. In other words, avoid clicking on links that you receive in emails, since there is a possibility that some of these are of fraudulent origin.
Avoid Using Public Computers
Avoid using public computers to access your bank accounts, credit cards or credit applications, in places such as public libraries, communal computers at work, internet cafes or similar. The risk is that usernames and passwords could be stored in cookies, which are a source of information that hackers are looking for. If you access any confidential information on the internet using a public computer, be sure to clear the browser’s history and temporary information.
Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are harder to decipher by the hackers, so always create strong passwords.
Make Secure Purchases on the Internet
When you are shopping online, you must follow the security measure and tips for safe shopping on the internet.
Avoid Sending Personal Information by Email
Avoid it especially if this is the case of an outsider to your full confidence. As a general rule, never, under any circumstances, send passwords by email or instant messaging.
Take Offline Precautions Too
You can apply the following basic tips to protect your identity offline;
Destroy documents with confidential information such as bank statements before throwing them away.
If you are not going to use them, destroy the promotional credit card checks that arrive to you by email.
Destroy your expired credit and debit cards, and do not throw them in the trash carelessly.
If you are not going to use them, destroy the forms of ‘pre-approved’ credit cards before throwing them away.
Avoid giving confidential information such as social security number or license numbers to sellers or representatives who contact you by phone requesting this information. There are a large number of telephone frauds where you are asked for confidential information, so that ‘you can take advantage of the particular unique promotion’.