When most of us think about identity fraud, we might imagine somebody physically getting access to our passport or driver’s license, cloning it, and posing as us from then on. But while this extreme form of identity theft certainly does happen, more often than not it is a crime that occurs online when cybercriminals get access to your passwords and begin posing as you in your online accounts. This might not be so bad if they only get access to one account and it is noticed and restricted immediately, however, if you use the same password for more than one account including accounts where hackers can access more sensitive data about you, the situation begins to get even more serious. So, what are some of the best ways to protect yourself against identity fraud online?
Use Strong Security Software
First of all, make sure that your devices are set up with strong and reputable security software. Many instances of identity theft begin with malware that is downloaded onto your device when you click on a bad link or open a link in a phishing email, placing a software on your device without your knowledge that records your activity and keystrokes, eventually giving hackers access to your passwords and other personal information. Ensure that your device has up to date antivirus and firewall software to protect against this.
Verify Message Sources
Phishing attacks are a very common method used by hackers to steal your identity and access sensitive information about you. Phishing attacks might come in the form of an email that appears to be from a trusted source like a bank or an online business that you often shop with. They will usually be messages that offer you something or ask you to take action, such as logging into your account with the below link. However, once you’ve done this, the hackers have your login details since the email wasn’t from the trusted source at all. Taking a few minutes to ensure that messages are from where they appear to be from can make all the difference to your online security. You can use Nuwber to find out more about the sender if you’ve received a message from somebody you don’t recognize.
The importance of strong passwords is preached every day in cybersecurity, however, many people simply don’t realize that their password is not as strong as they thought it was. Today, the best types of passwords to use are completely random strings of numbers, letters, and characters that most people would not be able to remember easily, especially when the password should be unique and different for all of your online accounts. Hackers use software that can easily intercept passwords that contain everyday words and if you’re using the name of a pet or family member, your social media could be giving your passwords away without you even realizing it. It’s best to use a password manager tool that generates and remembers strong, unique passwords on your behalf. But that’s not enough either – make sure that you remove as much opportunity as possible for hackers to gain access to your account by setting up two-factor authentication alongside your unique password wherever possible.
Today, most identity theft occurs online and is the result of hackers breaching security to online accounts.