The curse of technology becomes evident when one faces identity theft, which is the biggest concern of consumers who are wary of system breaches and hacking that can have far-reaching effects on their lives besides losing money. Just as technology allows easy access to information and entertainment that makes our life more comfortable, it also exposes us to the risks of theft of personal information that spreads across the internet in various forms and various platforms, especially during online transactions. If your personal information falls into the wrong hands, it can cause immense misery by tarnishing your reputation and credibility. Besides leaving your bankrupt, crooks can empty your bank accounts in seconds while you are entirely in the dark.
We all know how bad it can be to become a victim of online identity theft but to ensure proper protection, you must first understand what it means by personal information or identity theft and how it happens.
How identity theft happens
The dangers of losing personal information arise during online transactions. Even when you are not using the system as hackers or cybercriminals can breach it and access your personal information. Sometimes they lay a trap for you so that as you respond to it and your personal information automatically passes on to them. Here are some techniques that fraudsters use to steal information.
Unsecure websites – During online transactions, choose safe sites denoted by https:// in the prefix. Transacting on other websites that are not secure exposes you to considerable risks as fraudsters could use the website for accessing your personal information. Only a secure site helps protect your identity.
Malware – Cybercriminals lure consumers with malicious software that they ask to download, which then attacks the computer and steals data. Using robust security software is the way to thwart such attacks, but ensure that you keep the software updated.
Phishing – In this process, cybercriminals sent fake emails representing the banks, credit card companies, or other organizations that consumers usually interact with and then trick them into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. At the same time, collect your personal information in the process. Usually, you should log on to the official website by typing the URL of the organizations instead of reaching them through links. Please do not respond to suspicious emails unless you can verify its origin.
Pharming–Hackers and cybercriminals often attack the browsers by infecting it with a virus, leading consumers to fake websites despite typing the correct URL in the address bar and making it easy for them to steal personal information.
Passwords– Use strong passwords only because weak passwords make your account vulnerable to cyberattacks as the criminals can break it quickly and find their way into your account to steal all personal information. Use long alpha-numeric passwords of at least 8 characters and use special characters to strengthen it and make it difficult for criminals to breakthrough.
Stay away from offers about prizes and coupon redemption offered by unknown websites or emails as these could be traps to access your personal information.