In a world today where things are just “one click” away, we can say that the internet has captured the attention of humanity. Whether you’re searching for your favorite soccer player picture or sharing a birthday post on Facebook, it is possible to do it all in just seconds. Technology has bridged the gap between loved ones; a long distance is no reason why we can’t be closer to each other. Sending a letter to your family members, friends, and even bosses no longer take weeks to be delivered. A simple click on the send button on your device and voila! Message sent! Truly, the internet has revolutionized the world of communications like nothing before.
While the internet gives us these distinct advantages, there are events where safety is equally important and has become a worldwide topic. A question of how our intellectual properties, liabilities, and even identities are protected has created new issues of national security. Cyber warfare is real!
The U.S. Department of Justice states: “An estimated 17.6 million persons or 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft in 2014″ (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vit14.pdf) Often this happens through online transactions and providing personal information in social networking sites. Weak passwords, security breaches and other forms of cyber warfare compromise personal data.
A way of getting tricked is by using low privacy or no privacy settings on websites. Cyber criminals create a faux page referred to as “phishing” that require payments like eBay, PayPal, and financial websites. According to FBI, online frauds have increased over the last 10 years, and the total losses doubled in the recent years, affecting both individuals and large-scale businesses.
Accepting invitations to connect with unfamiliar individuals exposes your identity to potential danger. There is nothing wrong with being linked to a particular person or groups as long as you carefully screen what personal data you provide. Exchanging your vital information for a particular web page or group is something you need to be wary about. If would be hard for you to share that information in a physical sense then the same precaution should be taken when sharing online.
Participating in polls, quizzes, and false winning entries may be a gateway to perform identity theft. These events may occur whenever you’re online. For example, a pop-up message which states that you won cash, gadgets, or something for free is usually a scam. Clicking on these pop-up messages leads you to other websites where you’ll be required to fill out private information to proceed to the next steps.
You may want to ask yourself before joining, “How in the world did I win a thousand bucks?” Remember: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Email scams that ask you to open different attached documents have become almost an online joke. The most famous scam is a .PDF file from an unknown e-mail address. While opening a .PDF may appear to be harmless, may seem safe, hackers discovered a way to download viruses on your device. These viruses are programs or pieces of codes that steal information from your device. Things like bank logins, e-mail addresses, or passwords are at risk.
So after knowing the ways that could lead to identity theft, the question is how to prevent this from happening? Well, the good news is you don’t have to be an Information Technology (IT) professional to be able to protect yourself. There are simple tips to protect yourself.
We previously wrote an excellent article on tips to keep your identity safe. I strongly encourage reading it. You can find it here: How to Keep Your Identity Safe. This article is a comprehensive guide that gives specific guidelines and tips needed to safeguard your identity.
Remember !There is no guarantee these measures will keep you 100% secure. Always remember to think before you click.