How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Online Fraud

It’s International Fraud Awareness Week and definitely the best time to re-acquaint yourself with some key skills which will ensure that you remain safe from online frauds intended to swindle or convince you to surrender sensitive personal information. Although we have discussed some tips for safe online surfing before, yet we felt compelled to present few more key tips to stay safe on the internet due to the significance of the issue.

1) Identify attempts of phishing & spear phishing

Phishing attacks usually contain offers and promises in the hope of luring individuals into providing personal information before they realize there's a problem whereas Spear phishing is a targeted attack which tries to get additional information from individuals who may be at risk. In either case, the most valuable skill you can ascertain is a strong sense of internet skepticism. What to Do: Give out as minimum amount of information as possible when required. Never give away information unless you understand why that particular information is required and what will be done to it.

2) Watch out for suspicious attachments and emails

Although it is a common knowledge by now yet it is important to mention that attachments from un-trusted sources should never be opened. Even if you receive one from a source you trust, you should make sure to check the file extension of the attachment prior to downloading and opening it. A lot of people fall victims to emails which claim to be from an official-looking email from credit union, your bank or any other organization you do business with. These emails tell them to log in and review their account. Be Careful; It might be a legit one yet it is highly recommended that instead of clicking on the link in the email, you should visit the business's web site by typing in the URL in the address bar. What to Do: Do not click. Hover your mouse over the link in the suspicious email to see where it actually leads. Chances are it's not essentially the website of your bank. Manually enter the address of your bank's website in the address bar or a much better option would be to call them.

3) Keep your anti-malware software up to date

Although Trojans and Viruses are not making headlines as often as they used to, yet it does not imply you can get away without installing some anti-malware software on your system. But the work doesn’t end there as it is equally important to keep the software up to date. Outdated anti-malware and antivirus suites are actually useless. What to Do: With free options like ClamXAV for Mac and Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows out there, there's no reason not to have something installed. These softwares are light on system resources and both scan and update in the background without getting you into any kind of hassle.

4) Use secure, strong and distinctive passwords on different sites

If you are using same password to log onto multiple websites or a dictionary word/your dog's name as your password, then this is the best time to make changes in it. However, although you might have a strong password yet it is worthless if it is being used on multiple websites. If any one of them is compromised then you can understand what can happen to the rest. What to Do: Create a strong password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, caps, and special characters. Service like LastPass, Keepass or any other similar password manager can be used to generate, keep, and manage several strong passwords for all of websites and services which you access on the internet.

5) Use Reliable VPN Service

A lot of us are aware of it, few of us use it but the level of security it can provide is still not known to most of us. A reliable VPN service encrypts your traffic hence making it impossible for any unwanted individual to access your data. You can easily connect to a WiFi hotspot with your system; use your laptops/devices to securely connect to the internet and enjoy a hassle free internet life. What to Do: Just Buy a VPN to check out the details of our Quality VPN Service and choose amongst the various packages that we offer. It’s as easy as anything.

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