The internet is very convenient in very many ways because it enables us to access information from different parts of the world from the comfort of our desks either at home or at work. Moreover, we are able to shop, send and receive money as well as carry out other transactions involving money over the internet. This way an online identity is required. This involves a means of authentication like a password, pin and the username, personal details and the address. However, if someone else gets the access to these details, he can carry out these transactions by assuming your identity (identity theft).
Here are some of the ways that the fraudsters use to carry out the theft:
- There are some people who might keep their personal details regarding their bank accounts and passwords or pin code in an easily accessible place like on a personal computer. This is dangerous because if someone else gets hold of the information then he can assume your identity in carrying out transactions over the internet like withdrawals either from your bank or online merchants. This would definitely be a great loss to you. Therefore, it is necessary to keep your authentication details in a safe place.
- Online fraudster can also use phishing to steal your online identity. In this method they will send you spam mail requesting you to carry out certain adjustments to your account. These would be confirmation of personal details or even a change in password. They will usually provide you with the URL on the mail such that once you click on it you are directed to the site that is apparently supposed to be your financial institution’s website. However, this is never the actual site but one that is similar the authentic one. Once you are on the site you will definitely provide your personal details and hence these will be stored in the fraudster’s database. To avoid this from happening you should never click any URL for you to access the website for your financial institutions website. Moreover, you should not reply any spam mail or at least not with your personal details.
- People who are not very conversant with online buying methods will mostly fall prey of this method of stealing online identity. This is because there are some scammers who might create fraudulent online stores. Therefore, people who do not know the authentic online stores might end up placing orders from such places only to realize that they have been conned. When you place your order you will give your personal details about your method of payment and this information will be going into the wrong hands which can lead to its being used against you. For you to avoid such occurrences, you should ensure that you visit the known online stores rather than the less known ones.
- When using our personal computers on the internet we are at the risk of exposing our personal information. The first way that this can happen is via the process of either sharing a file on a site or when downloading the software that enables the sharing of files. However, you can prevent this from happening by keeping the settings and filters of your privacy at optimum.
In conclusion, you should ensure that you log out from your accounts or disconnect your internet access method when you are not accessing online information.