Years ago, the only threat internet users faced was getting infected with viruses, malware, or any other malicious software. However, nowadays, the biggest threat is being subjected to identity theft. Whenever you shop online, you submit your most sensitive data for a full transaction. Emails, home addresses, and credit card numbers are available for the taking by any hacker lurking in the shadows. So, what ways do they use to steal or mimic your identity? And how do you prevent that from happening?
Identity Theft – The Common Used Methods
Having your identity stolen without even being aware of the whole issue is certainly scary. There are several types of identity theft out there, yet you can always know if you pay close attention. Hackers use different approaches in order to gain access to sensitive data. However, by monitoring your accounts and online activities well, you make it a lot harder for these cybercriminals. Here are a few instances that can leave you exposed to ID theft.
Data Interception Over Public Wifi
Every time you’re connected through public Wi-Fi, your data is vulnerable to hacking. Many people are not aware of this, but Wi-Fi hotspots at a public place are not safe for confidential browsing, performing financial transactions or even viewing your emails. Any amateur or unskilled hacker can intercept your personal data with a software that can be found through a search engine. Attackers can obtain a lot of sensitive information including your Email, passwords, and even credit card numbers saved on your device. That’s because public Wi-Fi networks don’t use encryption on the internet given to their users.
Malware and Public Computers
Whenever you are at a library or any public computer network chatting room, your personal info is also at risk. Hackers and cyber-criminals can infect that public computer with malware or any other malicious software. For example, if you’re in a library accessing your email address, the software installed by the hacker can gather your information easily. The worst part of it all is that you might have no idea that this occurred. This is a problem that a lot of internet users face in public places. So when you’re using any computer, you have to double check first. Otherwise, your data is up for the grabs.
Phishing Scam Links
Every now and then, you might receive emails including certain unknown links. Even if these links do look familiar, the destination they lead to is what the concern is all about. Say you got an email from your bank or university with a link to double check your information and submit it all over again. This might be an act of scam so that you present what you have to an outside hacker. Even websites tend to provide scam links for any user who doesn’t know these facts. When clicked on, all info will be compromised.
Man in the Middle Attacks (MITM)
This is a very common breach of your private data. A MITM attack is where an individual hacker comes between you and your receiving end. For example, any info submitted by you to any website, this person is set in the middle harvesting any credential information. In other words, if you’re signing in to your Gmail, this person will get full access to your email and password. And the worst case scenario, your own banking accounts, and private messages. Not to mention that every website you visit starting with HTTP without an “s” is very dangerous. That’s a proper invitation for a third party to intercept your connection and steal whatever you’re providing online.
Many of us have the tendency to download applications not available in our stores. However, little do we know that these applications might risk your device’s security. Any application from unknown sources might be planted by hackers with malicious intentions. Recently updated devices warn you from installing any app downloaded from an unofficial website or store. Another way to jeopardize your data’s safety is when you open multimedia messages (MMS) from an anonymous sender. This is a perfect opportunity for any cyber-criminal to tap into your phone with ease. So beware.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
There are several approaches you can implement to minimize the risk of having your ID stolen and they’re quite simple. You don’t need to be an expert in technical matters, you just have to be cautious and willing to protect your online data. Now, you will find below the best ways to properly guard your information, thus, preventing identity theft.
Using Unlocator VPN
You’re internet security and browsing activities are the most affected factors here. With Unlocator’s VPN, not only can you hide your current IP address, but you can also encrypt your internet traffic so no one can get their hands on it. Unlocator provides users with military-grade encryption. Whenever you’re connected to an Unlocator server, you basically mask your real IP address. You will be surfing the web anonymously with no prying eye able to invade your privacy. This includes your own ISP, government, and hackers that set their sites on your info. With Unlocator VPN, all your sent and received data are perfectly safe. Just follow the steps below and keep your data perfectly in check:
- Sign up for a free Unlocator trial.
- Download and install the Unlocator application on a compatible device such as Android, iOS, Mac or Windows.
- Sign in with your Unlocator account.
- Connect to any server you want.
- Finally, surf the web, shop online, do whatever you want on the internet anonymously.
Making Use of Anti-Virus Software and Firewall
A firewall is there to protect your device from any cyber attacks that might occur. So whatever happens, keep your firewall up for the sake of your online safety. Installing an anti-virus program is another important tool you can use to protect yourself from identity theft. A good anti-virus app will prevent the majority of malware and viruses from targeting your device. That way, no hacker or cyber-thief will steal your data in any way. All you have to do is make sure that your anti-virus is updated every time a patch is launched since it always fixes any possible security flaw.
Precautions From Suspicious Links and Emails
As mentioned before, phishing scams are very common now for invading your personal details. People with bad intentions will get you to fill out numerous surveys and questionnaires. After you do that, they will get a hold of everything you submitted including your home address, phone number, and credit card number. There’s one solution for that, and it is quite simple. Just don’t click on the link and go straight to the official website. That way you’ll guarantee if the email is legit or not.