Simple Steps to Protect Your Personal Information

Monday, December 20th, 2021
Updated: December 20th, 2021
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Personal data is any information that obviously relates to a particular person and can be used to identify them. It is a key aspect of online identity, but unfortunately, it can be exploited wrongly. Some individuals might steal personal data to hijack mailboxes, create fake documents, and use people’s contact information to harass them. Cybercriminals might even commit financial identity theft, which usually involves credit card and bank account details being stolen to make unauthorized withdrawals, purchases, and transfers.

Whether you love to shop or pay your bills online, surf the internet searching for new information, or stay in touch with your friends, protecting your private information from viruses, spyware and hackers in the digital age should be a top priority.

Here are some general tips for protecting your data and privacy against the breach:

Use Stronger Passwords

It is a very common mistake to use the same passwords across all your accounts. Unique, complex passwords with a combination of lower and upper-case letters, numbers and symbols are the simplest but no less effective way to protect yourself. If you are concerned about forgetting the scores of passwords you have, a password manager app might be the solution for you to create and keep track of them.

Set up two-factor authentication on your accounts

Many sites and services give you the option of using two-factor authentication. This extra step of typing a code that’s texted to your cell phone or sent to your email when you attempt to log in should probably already be requested by your issuing bank.

Two-factor authentication is enabled by default on issuing bank accounts. However, if for some reason there is no two-factor authentication, check your account’s setting or contact the issuer directly for assistance.

Don’t share your personal information

Never give your personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone or who emails you requesting your data. There is a big chance it’s a phishing scam. Instead, contact the company that supposedly calls or emails you to verify the request is legitimate.

Avoid unsecured connections

Using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection enables other people to easily access your information. Wireless connections are undoubtedly more convenient, but if you need to log into your bank account when you do not have a secure network connection, try to use your cellular network instead. While thieves can still get into these networks, they’re much harder to hack.

Never save your payment information online

A huge number of people store their credit or debit card information in an app or on a website to make future purchases more convenient. However, having your financial data on a website makes it easier for hackers to use it to their advantage.

Be careful about clicking links or opening attachments

Just not to be tricked into giving personal information by clicking on links supposedly from your issuer, electric or gas company, tax service or other legitimate organizations, don’t use the link or open the attachment if you’re not sure about the source.

Adopt fraud preventing measures

One of the biggest risks of identity theft is that scammers will take out loans or credit cards in your name. To prevent thieves from using other people’s credit information, major credit bureaus offer the following anti-fraud measures:

A credit freeze blocks new accounts from being opened in your name, even if scammers have your personal information, as it prohibits third parties from accessing your credit report. A credit freeze lasts until you remove it. Thus, you’ll need to ask the credit bureau to lift the freeze if you later want to apply for credit.

A credit lock works just like the credit freeze, except it can be lifted electronically. To be safe, it’s advisable to put alerts, freezes or locks in place with all three major credit bureaus.

Bottom line

Due to different ways of committing fraud over the internet, such as stolen credit cards, identity theft, phishing and more, users of the internet must make sure to avoid or minimize the risk to become a victim of cybercrime.

Following a few simple, common-sense steps could be the key to having a productive and safe online digital life.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

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