Cyber-attacks have become more common and a high number of people have experienced some form of cyber-attacks in the past. From the cloning of credit or debit cards to identity theft, attacks online are increasing day by day. Anyone can be a victim of this crime; therefore, to avoid being a victim, you must protect your personal information very carefully, monitor accounts and financial history, and act quickly at any indication of misuse of your identity,

Theft or impersonation implies that another person obtains and appropriates personal data (information related to people, that identifies them or makes them identifiable) and makes unauthorized and illegal use of them. In many cases, this type of illegal practice also involves information related to people’s financial activity (credit card numbers or banking operations).

Identity theft is done in two steps. First, someone steals your personal information. Second, the criminal uses that information to impersonate people and commit fraud. 

To avoid suffering from this type of fraud, we present tips for you to follow:

1. Keep your personal documents safe at home and when you travel

It is important that all personal documents, with personal information or electronic files, as well as the PIN, password and dynamic keys be kept in a safe place (inside and outside the home). This is to prevent strangers from accessing them. 

Use a locked mailbox, and try to pick it up as soon as possible and in the advent of a change of location, immediately notify the senders about such change.

2. Destroy personal documents when they are no longer useful

You should also ensure that you dispose of documents that contain personal or financial information correctly. This includes expired credit cards or debit cards. 

Before throwing away the garbage, check that it does not contain documents with personal information if so, destroy them completely and verify that it is not possible to extract personal information from third parties.

3. Review the way you handle your social network accounts

social-media

Since the advent of social media, it has become easy for strangers to access information about a person such as a name, age, date of birth, information of family and many more. This is one of the ways criminals get information to steal an identity. Before creating an account on a social network, make sure you read its privacy policies. Set the privacy of your social networks and do not accept any friend request unless you are sure that you know the person that sent it to you. 

Do not share or publish more than necessary on your social networks and configure privacy levels among your contacts. Never send your passwords and PINs by email and never share them with someone. Similarly, build a strong password with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. 

4. Protect your computer, and mobile devices with security applications

One way malware gets into your computer and mobile devices is via the downloads of unauthorized applications. Always download apps from official stores as they are usually safe from malicious apps and malware. 

You can also protect yourself from data theft by installing security software such as antivirus and VPNs. Install premium antivirus on your internet devices and also remember to update the antivirus database regularly. 

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is also a useful software that helps protect internet devices from identity theft. VPNs conceal your IP address thereby making it difficult for your information to be exposed to criminals.

It is also important to use a VPN when accessing a public Wi-Fi, to be safe from the prying eyes of hackers and snoops that may be monitoring your activities. 

It is recommended that you utilize premium VPN services as most of them have excellent records and features that would protect you while surfing the web.  In addition, do not allow remote access to your computer and use strong passwords or locks for your mobile devices. 

5. Be careful when they ask for personal information online or via phone calls

Many people give away their personal information to criminals through phone calls or emails that claim to be from authentic websites or service providers. It is essential that you verify the identity of the person or website requesting your information. Delete any suspicious messages or requests for personal or financial information, it is better not to open them. Do not provide personal information by email or online, unless you are certain that the site is legitimate. You should also review the privacy policies of the sites you visit to find out how the information you provide will be used.

It is important to avoid exchanging personal information or passwords on insecure sites. Be careful of the offers that are published on the internet that are too good to be real. Do not click just any link or download any file you see; make sure you close pop-up windows that may open while browsing. In addition, do not open email attachments from an unknown sender as there have been cases of users unknowingly downloading malware to their internet devices.

6. Be alert to any unusual bank transaction

Cards, wallet, table

Constantly check your account statements in order to make sure that the charges correspond effectively to the ones you have made. If you detect an error, make the corresponding clarification as soon as possible. 

Check your account statements and monitor money transfers, to identify those that you do not remember making. You should also check your credit report frequently.

7. Try to always have your credit or debit card insight

When paying by card, do not lose sight of it, request that the terminal be taken to the place where you are, for example, in restaurants or gas stations. 

When you type your PIN in the ATM or fill out some form with personal information, you should do this with care if there are people watching you.

8. Make secure online transactions

Do not use public equipment to make bank transfers or online purchases. Your information may be recorded on them with the use of malicious software. 

Make sure that the site you visit for internet shopping is completely safe and reliable. The provider should provide their identity, legal name, sales, and privacy policies, as well as details of their physical location.

Disregard messages that tell you that you have won a prize or make you a special offer unless you have full assurance of the authenticity of the messages.

Moving Forward

If you can stay true to a few or all the tips discussed in this article, strangers will find it impossible to steal your data.