Identity fraud is a criminal act where a person uses someone else’s identity information without authorization to commit fraud or deceive someone else; this falls under the hierarchy of organized crimes like drug trafficking and money laundering.
There were lots of identity fraud reports such as using credit cards to make an unauthorized purchase of goods and services, impersonations, and the like. Every day criminals are finding new and better ways to make use of personal data for their personal gain.
Your personal information could be any of the following: credit card details, bank accounts, bio-data page of your international passport, and social security number among others. And so it is imperative to be extra careful with the items that reveal your personal data. I will take you through some procedures that could help protect you from these identity thieves. Here are some identity fraud guidelines for you:
- It’s ok to ask questions when you are feeling suspicious or uncertain:
Feel free to ask sales representatives that are requesting for sensitive personal information if it is necessary; you are completely within your rights. Understand the policies in such places before sharing any personal information.
- Review your payment site before entering your card details: Some e-commerce websites on the internet are not authentic or only fake replicas of known sites. These sites were designed by hackers to deceive people into entering personal information under the guise of paying for a service or good. You can identify these sites quickly by checking the URL bar on your browser, if you find an https before the website link, it can be trusted. If for some reason, the site name on its URL or link is entirely different, please do not give any personal information with such website, it could be dangerous. HTTPS is a certificate given to verified organizations only. The verification process is quite long and tedious, so not anyone can have it, which makes it a more reliable method of identification.
- Avoid public hotspots: Accessing the internet through open hotspots could potentially be dangerous especially if you are accessing personal information online. Hackers have developed tools that enable them to monitor the traffic communication between your computer and the internet. Once you are on the network, it is easy for them to enter into your computer, navigate through your personal files and even upload a bug into your system that would continuously monitor your activities on the computer. Hence, for your security, avoid connecting to the internet using the Wi-Fi services found in public places such as Airports, Restaurants, and bars, etc. It is advisable to have a personal internet dongle.
- Be mindful of the places where you receive calls: A good example of this scenario is when I was with a colleague. We were about six people in the elevator, and all of a sudden this office mate of mine received a call from a relative who wanted to make an online payment using her debit card. By the time we got to our floor, I already knew my colleague’s 16 digit master card number and CVC number, including her pin for withdrawals.
Never disclose personal information in public, not just credit cards but any other form of personal information; you do not know who may be watching you or listening to your calls. This also goes the same for any online transactions you aren’t sure of. If you are for instance visiting one of the many self defense knife review and best otf knives sites out there and they ask for your information in a strange way, it’s better to be cautious and not submit anything you aren’t comfortable with.
- Never let your credit card leave your sight: Always make sure to keep your personal belongings intact and in a place that is safe, secure and where nobody knows other than you. Be vigilant!