As an average Joe on the internet, I tend to venture far and wide between everything available to me: entertainment, scholastic interests (here are there when I am feeling it), social media sources or, business networks. The point is I like being online, I love finding new websites, the latest tech toys, or new ways to do business. In my virtual travels I happily sign up or log in to accounts on a number of mobile devices, tablets, PC’s or on my laptop; all along thinking that I am secure because I have my security apps downloaded and protecting me. But even that wasn’t enough to keep me safe online. One day my bank sent me an SMS with the title: Fraud Alert! Please respond within 24 hours. I had never received such a message and my first thoughts were that this was in fact a scam. I called my bank directly to find out that the Fraud Alert wasn’t a scam, but in fact a real situation that I had to deal with immediately. Someone has stolen my credit card details and to a much scarier and further extent, had stolen my identity. My head reeling from the news, I quickly fired a hundred questions at the bank. Thankfully the 4 transactions that had been fraudulently made, where marked and refunded. But we had no way of knowing who it was and how this criminal got a hold of my personal information and banking details.
How Fraud Alertscan stop identity theft
Cyber criminals sit smugly behind their computer screens, casually sending out hidden threats with the intent to obtain enough of your personal information, to hijacking your identity. Fraud alerts by your bank, or by other lenders help to keep you safe if suspicious activity has been noticed. If someone unauthorized has been using your credit cards or withdrawing from you accounts, Fraud Alert will ensure that you are notified in time. If, however you are the one noticing the discrepancies on your monthly statement, then call your banker or money lender immediately to report the issues.
Protecting your privacy online
Scammers and fraudsters have a number of methods that they use to obtain our personal information unlawfully. Sometimes what they do can be noticed by often times, we don’t realise that we have become a victim to fraud until it is too late. Keeping yourself safe means having a close check on all of your personal information and how you choose to distribute it amongst social media, online surveys, and other mediums. Keep your privacy safe by keeping a tight hold on your information such as:
- Full name and date of birth: these seemingly innocent bits of information are the beginning of identity theft. Try not to give complete or accurate information to non-officials, meaning, unless required by the law (I.E when opening a bank account etc).
- Identity documents: ID cards, driving licenses, passport numbers, all of these private and important documents should always be kept safe and out of the reach of anyone.
- Home address, work address: These details can also be used to build a profile on you, together with the information above, can be used to sign up for credit cards, and other financial frauds.
The above mentions but a few reasons why you should keep your private information safe from reach. Don’t forget that there are many hidden threats both online and off, that can be used against you. Identity theft is no joke, and you shouldn’t treat your safety as secondary to anything.