No victim of identity theft ever thought that he/she would be in that situation. It is pretty common, especially so if the victim is an innocent one who also happens to be vulnerable. It wreaks havoc on a person’s life and can get really messy. You will not be a victim of identity theft if you know how to protect yourself. It is easy to do, and below are some of the most effective methods to protect yourself.
1. Use Complicated Passwords
Passwords are easy to guess, especially so because there are powerful computers now that can randomly generate passwords. When hackers use this software, they are using what is called brute force.
An ideal password has at least eight characters, and these characters must be a blend of letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also capitalize some letters.
For example, if your password is johnsmith, hackers will be able to crack that in a short time. However, you can modify that into J0hn$mith26. As you can see, there are more potential possibilities here now, and computers that use brute force are not likely to guess it.
In addition to this, you must also use different passwords for different sites. Even if a hacker succeeded in hacking one of your passwords, he could not hack your other accounts.
It also makes sense to use a password manager, but only trust systems like Google or Microsoft. They have a robust software program and security that will prevent hackers from infiltrating their systems.
2. Understand Phishing Attempts
The word “phishing” came from fishing. It is a process where a person is baiting you to give him personal information. For example, a hacker may send you an email, and this email will look like a bank statement or email. It will say that there was a massive withdrawal made in your account or that your account is locked. To validate and unlock it, you have to click on a link.
That link takes you to a fraudulent copy of your bank’s website, and it will have the same log-in boxes. If you put your log-in credentials in that account, you just gave it to the hacker.
Hackers do not only do this with banks. They may also send you emails that say your PayPal account was hacked. Some versions say that they are a lawyer and that you are in trouble. Some hackers pretend to be kings from a country and that you are a beneficiary to a large sum of money. What they do is take advantage of your emotions, particularly fear and greed. They lead you to take action, and then you become an unsuspecting victim.
3. Do Not Give Out Personal Information
Never give out personal information to anyone, and do not publish it online. If you are an online entrepreneur, it is okay to publish your phone number, but then you should never publish sensitive information like your credit card numbers and your billing address.
Some hackers will go as far as calling you. They will pretend to be someone else, like a representative from your bank. Then, they will ask you for sensitive information, like your credit card’s CVV2. Never give any personal information to anybody. Even if it was you who called the institution, you should never give them personal details.
Here are some, not all, examples of information you should never give out:
- Social security number
- PIN Codes
- Credit card information
If a person from a legitimate institution asks for things like these, that person is a hacker—someone who happens to work legitimately in a bank. However, he is using that position as leverage to commit a crime.
4. Review Your Finances Regularly
The last most important thing to do is check your finances. Of course, this only applies if you have online accounts or credit card accounts. Check your credit card statements as soon as they arrive. If there is anything suspicious, do not wait—call the bank and inquire about it. If you did not make that purchase, then you have been hacked.
Of course, it is possible that someone in your household made a purchase. On some occasions, the person’s child can use the credit card to buy online games or gold for use in online games, or transfer some funds to a casino account to get a bonus like those offered by vulkan-vegas.pl. In a situation like this, banks may not reverse the transaction.
If you believe that someone got ahold of your card information, then you must tell the bank to suspend the card line. It prevents the hacker from using it again. Also, ask the bank if they have an extra layer of security, like a one-time password or OTP. Always use two-factor authentication if an institution offers it.
At the end of the day, you need to be suspicious of just about anything. If you receive emails from banks or letters about you being chosen as a winner for something, your default reaction should be that it is spam. You should also avoid posting too much personal information about yourself online. Hackers use this to know more about you.