7 ways to Protect Yourself from Online Threats, Theft and Fraud: Cybersecurity
Updated: Jun 5
Cybersecurity, hacking, and fraud are flooding the news globally. It can come in the form of a phone call, email, account pop-ups, passwords leaked in a data breach, or even old documents falling into the hands of the wrong people—unfortunately, these all sound too familiar. When we add our information to an online portal or online banking, it can put personal information in a vulnerable state. Do not be a victim of cyber crimes and protect your privacy with these tips.
1. Avoid any phone calls, emails, or texts asking for information regarding your accounts
Banks know your account information and should never ask you to verify account numbers, passwords, whole social security numbers, etc. This scam has become a popular form of stealing information because these calls use a convincing kind tone of voice or sense of urgency to protect you from a made-up threat. Become familiar with your bank's communication methods to help highlight deceptive behavior.
If you receive anything asking for your personal or financial information, hang up, delete it and report it.
When in doubt, always contact the company through a verified email or phone number to ask if they truly sent the request.
Identity theft is one of the most common types of cybercrime. It can happen when your social security number, credit card number, or other financial information falls into the wrong hands.
Check your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity. You're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Reviewing your report regularly can help you catch identity theft early on.
2. Securely Manage your accounts and passwords
Use a password manager and change your passwords regularly. Do NOT use the same password across your accounts as convenient as it might be. That is like locking your front door and leaving the back door unlocked. Using a variety of passwords will protect you in the long run. To keep track of your passwords, find a reputable password manager program. Keeping all your passwords in a safe location will allow you to easily access them when needed while protecting them at the same time.
When creating a new password, avoid using personal information or easily guessed words. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Never write your passwords down in plain sight. If you must write them down, hide them in a safe place like a locked drawer.
Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication (also known as "two-step verification") to log into your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter both your password and a code that's sent to your phone or email address.
Identity theft can have a major impact on your finances and credit rating. To help protect yourself, consider freezing your credit report.
3. Avoid clicking links that come from an unsure email account
By opening these links, you can allow hackers access to your online bank accounts, social media accounts, and other personal online spaces. If an email seems skeptical, avoid opening the email and move it to trash. These emails can also be disguised to look like they are coming from a trusted source. As mentioned earlier, become familiar with communication methods across banks and other personal online accounts.
If an email from a trusted source looks out of the ordinary, call the customer service number provided on their website to inquire about the email.
Falling victim to identity theft, cybercrime, or fraud can be emotionally and financially devastating. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By being aware of these threats and taking measures to safeguard your personal information, you can help reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
4. Install Security Protection on your computer
The internet has become a norm in our day-to-day lives; it is essential to take security measures on our computers. Established online security programs can protect you from identity thieves, hackers, and other deceptive people and programs. We go the extra mile to add security to our home, and we need to do the same with our online spaces.
When looking for a security program, find one that offers comprehensive protection. This type of program will help protect your computer from viruses, malware, and other online threats. It is also important to find a program that is easy to use and regularly updated to ensure it can keep up with the latest security threats.
Some programs will also offer protection for your mobile devices. As we use our phones and tablets for more tasks that require personal information, it is essential to have this extra layer of security.
Installing an online security program is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from identity theft, fraud, and other online threats. By being proactive about your cybersecurity, you can help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
5. Pay attention to the websites you are visiting
When you are entering personal information on a website, make sure the site is secure. You can tell if a site is secure if the URL starts with "HTTPS" instead of just "HTTPS." The "S" stands for "Secure."
You should also pay attention to the overall look of the website. If a site looks suspicious or unfinished, it may be a scam. Be cautious about giving out personal information on these sites.
Only visit websites that you trust and that have a good reputation. If you are unsure about a website, do some research to see if others have had positive experiences with it.
It's important to be aware of the websites you are visiting and the type of information you are sharing on these sites.
6. Review credit card and bank statements regularly, and do not be afraid to freeze your credit
Establishing this as a monthly practice can be essential to catching unusual behaviors across your accounts.
Realizing unusual behavior early on can save you from fraudulent spending on your credit cards. These types of transactions can start small and continue to grow.
Freezing your credit can stop the fraud from becoming more familiar with your accounts. By taking this action it will prevent thieves from opening other accounts, loans, and other behaviors that might hurt your credit.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud is to review your credit card and bank statements regularly. This will help you catch any suspicious activity early on.
If you see something on your statement that you don't recognize, don't be afraid to reach out to your bank or credit card company. They can help you determine if the charge is legitimate or if it's a case of identity theft.
You should also consider freezing your credit report. This will prevent new accounts from being opened in your name. If you are concerned about identity theft, this is a good step to take.
7. Properly discard your documents
As unpleasant as it might sound, dumpster divers are out there and after your private documents. Shredding old papers and old credit cards is crucial.
There is no need to keep years of bank statements. Keep a couple of recent months' worth of documents in a secure location but declutter the rest with a proper shredder.
Identity thieves can go through your trash to find old bills or other documents with your personal information on them. To prevent this, make sure you shred any documents that include your personal information before you throw them away.
You should also shred old credit cards. If a identity thief gets ahold of an old credit card, they could try to use it to make unauthorized charges.
By properly discarding your documents, you can help protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. Make sure you shred any documents that include your personal information before you throw them away.
These are just a few of the many ways you can protect yourself from online threats, theft, and fraud. By being proactive about your cybersecurity, you can help reduce your risk of idenety theft.
The team at Solas Wealth can help you take essential measures to protect yourself from cybersecurity threats. Our customers' portfolios are secure and automatically adjust to market changes, and we construct them to protect customers from threats and downtrends.
Solas Wealth securely digitizes files and properly discards important paperwork. Fill out our contact form online today to schedule a conversation with one of our team members.
By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself from identity theft, fraud, and other online threats.
What other steps can you take to protect your identity online? Share your tips in the comments below! And remember, if you think you've been a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov or visit ftc.