Prevent Identity Theft

Have you ever considered a possibility when someone pretends to be you? We do not mean a simple case of using your name while interacting with other people, but rather an identity theft, and not just online. Just as you would not lend your house or car keys to a stranger, be equally cautious while using the Internet and online communication. These days it is very easy to hack into various online accounts, find out the SSN, credit card data, etc. Thinking that it does not concern you may prove to be short-sighted and dangerous. Anyone at any time can become a cyber attack target. At the early stage, you may not even realize it. The information you share on social networks alone may turn you into someone’s object of interest. The kind of interest you would rather avoid.

Treat as suspicious any message or website that asks for your personal information or includes a link to an unfamiliar website requesting any of the following data:

  • Username
  • Password
  • SSN (Social Security Number)
  • Bank account number
  • PIN (Personal Identification Number)
  • Full payment (credit or debit) card number
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Your birthday

and others…

Do not complete any form or login screen provided in the message link. If you are prompted to fill out personal information in the form, do not be tempted to do so. Once you start entering the requested data, it can be sent to an identity thief, even if you do not press the ‘send/submit’ key.

Even if the website looks credible, your bank for example, you should continue by clicking on a bookmark or typing the website address directly into the browser. Cyber criminals frequently use names of banks and other financial institutions because they look credible. They can send emails from domains that at the first sight appear to come from the bank or financial institution.

Passwords provide a key access to your accounts and online services. You think twice before lending your keys offline. Legitimate websites and services do not ask you to send your password via email. Therefore do not respond to any request to email your password. At the same time, you can recognize an online service as legitimate if it does not send your password via email, but shares it with you in another, secure way.

Passwords are very important, and therefore you should always think carefully with whom you will share them – including your friends and family. Once you share your password, there is a higher probability that someone could misuse your account in a way you did not approve or access data meant for your use only. If, for instance, you give someone your email password, the person can read your private emails, try to use your email account to access other online services connected to it (e.g. online banking or social networks) or use the account to impersonate you. Therefore if you share your password with another person, you must trust them enough not to share it with anyone else, whether intentionally or by accident.

The internet has brought a number of possibilities to our lives and widened the boundaries of what we can do. At the same time, it has generated threats by creating possibilities for those who wish to take advantage of others and cause harm. Everyone should be familiar with cyber attack preventive measures and effective defense, just in case we experience it.

Be careful about your private information. Do not share your SSN over the phone or simply via e-mail.
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Source: http://www.google.cz/goodtoknow/online-safety/identity-theft/