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How to prevent Identity Theft and Internet Fraud Scams

In a time when transactions and sharing on social media are highly likely to happen, we list some practices to avoid identity theft and reduce the risk of scams.

Common Internet threats

As technology evolves, cybercriminals use more and more sophisticated techniques to steal identities, personal information, and money. To protect yourself from online threats, you should know what you are looking for. Some of the most common Internet threats are:

  • Threats about COVID-19 that are sent by e-mail with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to fool the victims into revealing their confidential information or make donations to charity institutions or fraudulent causes. For instance, pay attention when you receive e-mails with a Covid-related subject, attachment, or hyperlink, and be careful with requests on social media, SMS or phone calls that are Covid-related.
  • There are other threats where the person who is sending the e-mail or calling says they are from an official agency, a relative, or a friend asking for personal or financial information. For instance, when someone poses as an agency worker who tells you that your data are not up-to-date and that there are unpaid invoices, giving new data and payable amounts, leading to fraudulent payments.

Simple tips

1. Strengthen your Login protection

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to make sure that you are the only person who has access to your account. Use MFA for your e-mail, online banking, social media, and any other service that required a login. When activating multi-factor authentication, use a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authentication app, or a secure token.

2. Do not facilitate when creating Passwords

Be creative and personalize your passwords in different websites, as this can prevent cybercriminals from accessing those accounts and protect you in case of breach. Use password managers to generate and suggest different, complex passwords for each account.

3. Stay updated

Keep your software updated with the latest version available. Keep your security configurations to guarantee secure information by enabling automatic updates and set your security software to run regular checks.
4. Do not Trust and Always Confirm

Always bear in mind the good practices of not trusting and confirming all requests or offers you receive that involve your data, clicking on links, executing actions you do not know, or simply when the offer seems too good to be true.

Protect yourself from online fraud

Stay protected while you are connected: you are always vulnerable when you are online. If your network devices are compromised by any reason, or the hackers breach an encrypted firewall, someone might be spying on you even at your own house with an encrypted Wi-Fi.
  • Browse the Internet securely wherever you are by checking for the padlock item on the browser bar – this means the connection is secure.
  • When you are connected to Wi-Fi, avoid free Internet access without encryption.
  • Do not reveal personal information, such as bank account number, taxpayer identification number, or date of birth to unknown sources.
  • If you are using a non-secure public access point, remember the good Internet use practices and avoid performing confidential activities (e.g. accessing your bank) that require passwords or credit cards. Your hotspot is often a more secure alternative to free Wi-Fi
  • Enter website URLs directly on the address bar instead of clicking or links or doing copy+paste from the e-mail.