It’s happening to the most unsuspecting and upstanding citizens all over the world, and it could happen to you too. While making our lives easier, the technological age has resulted in many cases of identity theft and fraud.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the fraudsters had defrauded in America alone more than 350,000 individuals in 2017 and stole over $328 million.
These numbers will most certainly send shivers down your spine but considering the fact that most of the fraudsters impersonated your loved ones, what are you doing to protect yourself?
Report and take the right measures to secure your data
If you suspect that your personal information has been compromised, file a report with the police immediately. While at it, change your password, PIN numbers, and contact your financial institutions, telling them what has happened.
Their awareness of the breach means that they will know and stop any and all transactions unless they receive your approval.
Even if the breach was a fake alarm, you must not rest there. We recommend requesting your credit bureaus for your credit report.
This is important because fraudsters are smart and they will look for undetectable ways of getting your money or using your name.
Are you aware of the common scams?
The most effective way of protecting yourself from fraud involves being wary of common scams. Beware of IRS impostor scams, tech support scams, real estate imposition scams, and bank imposter scams.
You should also be aware of phishing. Phishing is one of the most sophisticated techniques employed by fraudsters, and the interesting fact is that you may know when your details are stolen.
To be safe, know that phishers could target you through social media, texts, voice or phone, and emails. Other scams include sweepstakes and lotteries, card tracking, charity, online dating, strangers in need, mystery jobs, and the biggest nightmare: ransomware.
If you are unsure of an IRS issue you received notification for, contact a tax lawyer Montreal for guidance before you respond.
Protect your devices
One, use industry’s best internet security and antivirus/ malware software solutions to block attacks, don’t open malicious attachments and employ the effective two-step verification process.
Also, stop using a simple password and one password across all accounts. Reusing passwords is the most dangerous thing to do, and it is worse when the password takes a hacker less than 10 minutes to crack it.
Understandably, you may not be able to remember all those passwords but, there are secure password managers you could use.
- Don’t send sensitive information on email or the unsecured messaging services
- Update your device software and your apps frequently or whenever you are prompted
- Don’t divulge a lot about your life when out in public and be careful about who and how you share your secrets with. You also need to keep sensitive information and personal habits off of social media.
- Avoid paying through wire transfers
- Clear cookies often
- Use password protection for your cloud computing solutions/ online document storage
- Check your privacy settings on social media especially if you overshare and you live online
- Avoid using your credit/ debit card to make online payments, and when you do, ensure that the site you are shopping from has the highest security standards.