Online fraud can happen in several different ways. Scammers may steal your information, guess passwords to access your accounts, or trick you into giving them your login details.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make yourself a harder target and to be alerted immediately if you’ve been a victim. Let’s look at six of them.
Help Protect Your Identity with Help from the Pros
One of the best ways to protect your identity is to enlist a team of experts to join your side. A reputable, top tier identify theft protection company can serve as a powerful defense against online fraudsters.
Companies such as LifeLock, a long-time leader in identity theft protection, can let you know when they find that your identity might be endangered and help you fix it.
After signing up, LifeLock will begin scanning the internet for any suspicious activity related to your information. LifeLock’s technology is always on alert, and it can catch threats that you would miss.1 When it detects suspicious activity that may cause identity theft concerns, you will receive a notice by text, phone call, email, or on the app. And if your identity is compromised, a LifeLock Restoration Specialist will help you fix the issue as quickly as possible.
Plus, signing up for LifeLock means you have up to $3 million of identity theft coverage depending on your plan.2
Proactively Freeze Your Credit
If you receive notice that your information has been leaked, don’t wait until fraud has already happened to react. Freeze your credit immediately so that identity thieves will not be able to do as much damage with their stolen information while you work on fixing the issue.
Use Unique Passwords
We know, it’s hard to remember a different password for every account you have, especially when they’re all case sensitive and need to include numbers and special characters. It’s tempting to use a very simple password or use one solid password you can remember for all accounts. Or worst of all, do both.
But sometimes sites have data leaks and users’ passwords get passed around on the dark web. Having one social media account compromised isn’t the end of the world, but if you also use that password for your bank account, you’re in trouble. To minimize the impact hacking any one account of yours can have, each one needs to have its own unique, hard-to-guess password.
Don’t trust yourself to remember all your passwords? Don’t write them on an easily lost or stolen piece of paper. You only have to remember one great password: the login to your password manager.
A password manager is a safe, un-hackable website where you can save the login information for all your accounts, making it easier than ever to keep track of unique passwords for every account and website.
Enable Multi-factor Authentication
You have probably been asked by some websites if you would like to do this, and you should always click yes. Multi-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, means it will take two (or more) verifications to access the account in question. The first verification is entering your username and password. The second is usually a code sent to your phone which you then enter on the next screen. This means that for anyone to log into your account, they need access not only to your password but also to your phone.
Enabling multi-factor authentication means it takes slightly more effort to log into your own account, which is why many people never enable it. But remember, multi-factor authentication only adds a few seconds for you to log in, while making it way harder for a hacker to get into your account. It’s worth a little extra effort to secure your online safety.
Make Sure Your Computer and Network Are Secure
Before accessing any financial accounts, make sure your computer is up to date. Those software updates your computer is always bugging you about include security patches that fix any vulnerabilities discovered since the last update. If you’re not up to date, you’re an easier target for hackers.
Another way you leave yourself open to hackers is by using an unsecured network. Public Wi-Fi networks, especially ones that aren’t password protected, are a weak spot hackers can exploit to steal your data, so it’s best not to log into your bank account while on a café’s free Wi-Fi. Wait until you’re on your own network or protect yourself while using public networks by using a VPN.
Beware of Scammers Posing as Your Bank
Sometimes scammers take a more personal approach to stealing information by contacting you directly with a text, phone call, or email meant to look like a legitimate message from your bank. Never provide your password or any codes you have received to these messages, and don’t click on links in them. Delete and report the message. If you’re concerned by what the message said, navigate to your bank’s website the way you usually do and log in from there. You’ll most likely find that nothing is amiss because the message was just a scammer phishing for your login information.
By protecting yourself from password and data theft, enabling multi-factor authentication, and signing up for identity theft protection from providers such as LifeLock, you can reduce the potential impact of identity theft and react quickly at the first signs of potential fraud.
1 LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
2 $3 million coverage in our Ultimate Plus plan consists of up to $1 million each for Reimbursement, Expense Compensation, and Lawyers and Experts. Total coverage and category limits vary depending on plan chosen. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by United Specialty Insurance Company (State National Insurance Company, Inc. for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions and exclusions at: NortonLifelock.com/Legal
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