Personal information can be stolen and used in many fraudulent ways. That can cost you a lot of money and annoyances. Don't lose any time and start protecting your identity right now!
Update your computer's antivirus
Some malicious software can spread easily as viruses record every keystroke you do. This way, if you're doing some online banking or purchase, thieves will get your user's name, your credit card numbers, passwords, etc. You may never realize until you find out an unexpected expense! With a good antivirus, you can save yourself many worries.
Check the website
There are fake websites, very similar to the real ones, that offer you credit card promotions, supposedly great travel deals, or seemingly attractive discounts. When you click on any item, they can ask you to write down some personal information in order to give you these benefits. To avoid these scams, you should type the website’s real name, and search what you were looking for. If they ask you to put your credit or debit card number, there should be a small lock on the screen, which is how you will recognize secured pages.
Stay alert on emails
Surely, you receive lots of emails every day. If you're subscribed to newsletters in order to receive news about any subject that interests you, then your email inbox can be flooded with promotions, alerts, etc. Scammers take advantage of this by “fishing” for personal information through emails. They will send out some with attractive subjects, where they ask for some personal information to check that it's really you who opened the email.
For example, you can find an email with a message like “your order has been shipped” that requires you to put your username and password in order to find out which package is supposedly being delivered. Instead, you’ll be giving out this data to scammers. This is why the best advice is not to open this kind of mails and stay critic of all “special offers” while working online.
Watch out for fraudulent calls
This type of fraud is commonly targeted at elderly people, who are thought of as more naïve. Thieves will call you at home saying they’re calling from your bank, arguing that you received a refund or that they need to update your personal data. As they may already have some of your data, they can use it to make the call feel more official. Many people end up trusting the person on the other side of the line and giving them the information they're asking for, like your credit card number. If you receive such a phone call, you should hang your phone and then call your bank to see if they were the ones who reached out asking for this information.
Try to avoid public Wi-Fi
Lots of people have meetings in public places and use the Internet connection there to share information or to search for some data. If you go with your device to a public place, try not to do any home banking or online shopping. There are fake Wi-Fi hotspots that connect you to the Internet, just like a legit connection, but are actually provided by a hacker, who uses specialized software to obtain the information you're managing while you’re connected to their Wi-Fi.
Avoid dumpster diving
Believe it or not, a lot of identity scammers obtain personal data from your garbage bins. The most effective method to avoid this is to scrap all your paperwork, your credit card's bills, and any other document where any of your personal data is written on. Afterward, you can safely get rid of them.
Read this article if you want to know what to do if you've been a victim of identity theft.