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Identity Theft: What is it and how can you protect yourself?

Do you prefer paying your monthly bills online? Well, online payment is the most convenient way to make transactions. But, have you ever thought about the risk involved in online payment?

Nowadays, most of our transactions take place online. To complete the transaction process, one needs to provide various personal information such as bank account details, credit/debit card details, phone number etc. While online shopping or payment can be fun, it can also cause identity theft.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a scam or crime of collecting someone else’s personal information. This occurs when an unauthorised person gains access to your account to create cyber crimes. It can affect your financial security for years as well as digital reputation.

Below are a few recommendations to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Avoid suspicious websites and links:

Avoid clicking on shady sites and links. Online fraudsters actively use emails and websites similar to your bank or credit card company. Therefore, if you are suspicious about a particular link, don’t click on it and avoid typing your password or any kind of personal information on an unfamiliar site.

  • Never share your personal information:

Fraudsters usually make calls as an employee of a bank or credit card company. The fact is, no financial institution will ask for your personal information such as account number or PIN number. So, if you suspect such calls, hang up the call and contact your financial organisation and clear out the issue.

  • Install antivirus and anti-spyware software:

If you make use of any sensitive information online, make sure to install software that makes it difficult for criminals to crack your information. Using antivirus software keeps you updated about unusual activity.

  • Keep a check on your credit card and bank account regularly:

Make a habit to keep a track of your daily balances. Many financial organizations enables an option to notify you of any activity on your accounts. However, when you make a purchase for yourself, you will still be notified about it. In case you unexpectedly receive a message regarding reduction in your funds, you must take immediate action.

  • Make use of unique and strong passwords:

Make sure to choose a strong password. But remember, never use the same password for all your accounts.  Fraudsters are counting on the fact that you will use the same password for all your accounts. Once they obtain any of your passwords, it becomes easy for them to access rest of your accounts. Moreover, make use of symbols, number and alphabets to keep your password strong.

Now, you know identity theft is a huge threat, especially if you don’t take proper precautions. Hence, first and foremost, it’s important to educate yourself and be smart while using the internet. At the end, it’s up to you to stop identity theft smartly.


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