We live in an uncertain economic time where many people don’t have job security to employment that could lead to stress and desperate actions. Therefore, it is up to us to do more to protect money from being stolen by cunning online schemers. Here are some ways to prevent identity theft.
Online banking is something that more banks keep pushing. Using the internet for your banking does involve taking extra precautions such as giving your password thought. Do not pick one that is easy for you to remember or leaving a trail of clues that some cunning online schemer could piece together like an online puzzle to access your account.
Instead, generate a strong password. Use a long one with symbols, numbers, capital letters, small letters that require effort before typing in something shorter to save yourself time. There are online resources that can come in handy such as Password Generator or one from Random.Org for further help.
Web Addresses Matter to Security to Protect Money From Cunning Online Schemers
Cunning online schemers with excellent computer skills know how to expertly deceive. They can replicate a website to resemble another so precisely that it is often difficult to notice. However, paying closer attention to the site’s address bar when dealing with financial or personal information especially, is vital to protect money and your identity. Make sure this is the genuine site address that should start with https–not http. It also could have a lock icon, especially both that https address and the lock icon for banking.
Check your emails because often you get those phishing emails about a purchase or banking that has nothing to do with you. To tell for sure if the email was legitimate, hovering your mouse over the link first to see the real address. By all means, never press links or open attachments from people that you don’t know because it is dangerous.
If you’re a regular user of a computer at a library, a hotel that is shared by the public or a coffee shop internet type of café hosted on Wi-Fi, there is something that you should be aware of. At places such as those, browse and research all you want. The only thing you want to steer clear of is using those particular computers for entering financial information. Those types of connections can easily be accessed by cunning online schemers.
How these cunning online schemers work is usually as a part of a team. Someone could appear innocently sitting behind you or peer over your shoulder while you’re typing at the time you’re entering passwords and gain access. They also could be carrying unique tools while being close enough to you to help in their devious pursuit of your financial and personal information such as a packet sniffer to intercept and collect that important data. If you hope to protect your money, then save those type of activities for use at your home computer or restrict your banking transactions to ones that you can do in person.
You also should be careful of what you carry in your wallet with too many credit cards and a social security card. Leave your social security card at home in a safe place because you rarely need to take it with you. Someone online may ask for a social security number. Before you ever share that number be sure to find out the exact purpose, the reason for that number being requested and what will happen if you don’t provide it. Asking those things will give you better insight as to the legitimacy of that request for you to come to a decision.
Cunning online schemers also can expand their reach to your real world outside of the internet such as your banking machine, where you buy gasoline or stop to grab a cup by hiding a tiny device called a skimmer where you normally insert your credit card.
Sometimes, you might not be able to notice if a skimmer is attached from glancing at the place where you insert the card. A way to protect money is checking what the other machines at the location may look like if you notice anything suspicious. Check if something feels loose or odd before sticking your card in it. Another safeguard is to wiggle the card as you insert it because skimmers only can steal information in a clean, unmoving swipe.
The best advice when paying with a credit card outdoors at a machine is to use ones only at high-traffic locations. After all, the more people around, the harder it becomes for cunning online schemers to install their skimmers.
Beware of Cunning Online Schemers Contacting Over the Phone
Despite being on the “no-call” list, my phone seems to constantly ring with an assortment of cunning online schemers. I have been contacted so many times from the technical support from supposedly Microsoft or the FBI that whoever answered the phone was going to be arrested if I didn’t call a certain number. First of all, it is hard to contact technical support of Microsoft let alone someone from their company contact you about a computer problem. The FBI wouldn’t call a phone number of someone without even a name that wanted to arrest. They would take the initiative and just come for you.
Another big scheme going around is getting a phone call where you are prompted to answer a question. Never say “yes” to someone pressing you for an answer in a strange sales pitch. Some cunning online schemers can take your “yes” answer and record it to sign up for some service or product that you have no intention of buying.
The best way to protect money from cunning online schemers is to never let your guard down. Anticipate and prepare because they are relentless. Being vigilant about protecting money and keeping track of your financial health and credit score is your best defense.