Identity theft is an ever-growing concern in this modern age and can take place in a number of ways. The most prevalent form of identity theft involves financial fraud such as bank and credit card fraud where criminals either steal their victim’s card details or use victims personal information to open new accounts and run up debt in the victim’s name.
The crime can have a long-lasting impact on those who become victims and can be complex to resolve. Victims are firstly faced with the stress of proving that they are not responsible for debts the fraudster may have accrued, only to then find themselves with the extra chore of having the fraudsters debts removed from their credit files, where it can affect future borrowing if left uncorrected.
With fraudsters continually coming up with new scams, knowing how to protect yourself can be difficult, however, by taking some sensible precautions and following these simple tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of falling prey to criminals online:
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Use Two Factor Authentication
By requiring the entry of an extra piece of information as well as your username and password, two-factor authentication with apps like Authy give your accounts an extra layer of security, making them more difficult for criminals to access.
Protect Your Information
Social media can be an information goldmine for criminals. Does your social media display your date of birth, phone number or other sensitive information? Also, check who can view this information by looking at social media privacy settings. Avoid downloading smartphone apps from unknown sources, and when you do download an app make sure to read what permissions the app is asking for before you install it.
Encrypt Your Data
Encrypt data that is stored locally as well as online to protect yourself from data theft if your device is stolen and also to protect documents stored on the cloud or with online backup providers.
Use A VPN
Using a VPN to route your internet traffic through an encrypted connection has two benefits, firstly many VPN’s come with malware blocking software which will help to protect you, and secondly, the VPN makes life difficult for hackers by making it impossible for them to view your location, browsing history or IP address.
Keep Software Up To Date
When you download the latest updates for your software, the update will usually include patches for any recently discovered software flaws and defence against the latest threats. Updating software may be a chore, but it could save you a great deal of trouble in the long run.
Consider Using A Password Manager
Using an easy to guess password, or using the same password for different accounts can greatly increase the risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud. Password managers help you to generate (and remember) long and complex passwords that are more difficult for hackers to crack.