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How to protect against identity theft, skimming, spoofing, spying and key logging?

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Identity theft an introduction:

ID theft is a fraud to steal money or getting monetary benefits by pretending to be another person whose ID has been stolen. ID theft, as actual theft or burglary, can cause financial and emotional stress.

ID theft is done in many ways e.g. by using other’s credit card details illegally to make online or physical purchases or in advanced countries where bank accounts can be opened online – by using somebody’s ID to open bank accounts and avail loans including conducting illegal business with the stolen ID.

How does ID theft takes place and work?

ID theft can work in many ways. Some thieves may be individuals and some may form a team of organized scammers.

We have plenty of personal information readily available in the shape of card in our physical or online wallets, email, public records such as electricity bills, Phone or Mobile Bills, Passport data and other data collected by government machinery and fed on the secured servers. We also save information on our computers post it in social networking sites.

Identity theft can be done smartly as by leaving our personal details readily available, scammers can have easy access to such information. For example, spammers and scammers may offer to Pay Huge Amount to unsuspecting people through attractive tips so as to collect personal information.

However, despite all your alertness, a technically strong scammer can prepare cunning plans to trick and lure you for providing your personal details e.g. by sending an email that looking like to be originating from your own bank, services provider like mobile operator. It is known as phishing mail or scam; where the spammers befool their prey to part with your personal and banking details. Such spammers will put special links in their phishing mail to take you to websites which may be combination of genuine and spoofed websites.

Phone Call frauds and SMS alerts also work like phishing mails where scammers trick their victim to part with their personal details. One of the most common fraud SMS or Mail alert involves the scammer pretending to be calling or mailing from your own bank telling you that your debit or credit card has been cancelled because of suspicious activity detected and many more such excuses. They will then befool their victim to provide account details so as to get your identity verified or confirmed but such verification is never done by genuine callers or websites except the Toll Free Customer Care services. Fictitious and bogus employment opportunities are posted on job websites to collect the personal information of unsuspecting web users. The trickster called as spammer on the internet may sell or use the personal information so collected from your job application to further spammers and your mailbox may become a spam box.

Early warning signals!

When an email, SMS or a phone call is received all of a sudden asking you to verify, confirm or validate your Banking Account Details then money starts going missing from your Bank Account. The caller and mailer may push further to provide personal information and may also discourage you to verify if that was genuine or fake request. When such caller avails online loans and credits, in advanced countries where one need not visit the bank branch for personal loans, you may be denied loan or credit because of poor credit rating by credit rating agencies as it is obvious that the trickster will never repay such loans.

How to protect yourself?

Avoid sending money or providing personal details to strangers and persons you do not know and trust. If a phone call or mail is received purported to have been made or sent by your bank or other service provider organization, do not divulge your personal details rather ask for the name and contact number of the person calling or sending the mail. Cross check the antecedents of the caller or mailer with the organization. Neither trust phone number provided in the email nor click on link provided in the email. You can find the contact number via search on the internet or Toll free number can be found at the back of debit, ATM or credit card.

 However on receiving request from any of your stranded friend or family member requesting to transfer money to them it will be prudent to call and contact them back by phone or any other alternative method so as to verify that the request was genuine before transferring money via Mobile or internet.

Make it a habit to regularly check credit card and bank account statements minutely to ensure that there are no unauthorized or suspicious transactions.

Tear all documents with any personal information including details or photocopies of credit card applications and all bank statements.

It is better to log on directly on to bank’s websites or other service provider’s websites instead of clicking on Links provided in the email.

Check all online offers if those are genuine or not.

Have you done your homework?

You have every reason to be cautious if someone requests your personal information. Tricksters and Spammer will use all convincing methods t make you believe as to why they want to pay you money so that you part with the personal details.

Do not mind taking your own time to respond to such requests so as to check genuineness of the request.

Do not hesitate to have second opinion from trusted family member or friend and never feel that you will be at loss to tell your story to the friend or family members. Even if you are not satisfied then you may seek professional advice from the Bank, Lawyer or Professional.

No legitimate bank, Service Provider or Government Agency will never send an email asking you to follow the link within the mail or ever ask you to divulge personal details.

Never call using any contact number given in the email rather use the contact number appearing on the bank statement or debit/credit card issued by the bank. While using online transaction always us a secured browser with HTTPS and Padlock along with valid unexpired certificate duly verified.

Now you can even check the antecedents of the caller from Global Directory by signing in through secured browser with your social ID at Face book, Twitter, Google+ or Yahoo.

Take firm decision not to:

Divulge details of your bank account or any of your personal details to strangers unknown to you whom you can not trust.

Send your Debit, Credit, ATM card or bank account details through email to anybody however trustworthy the mailer may be or through phone to unknown persons.

Get yourself misled or tricked by emails that look original and official and lead you to a link look alike genuine websites.

Keep even such emails in your inbox by deleting such mails before you inadvertently open such mails.

Answer the phone calls without thinking that such calls may actually have been made by tricksters planning fraud with your bank account or credit card.

Forget to call your bank or credit card provider to inform them as to what had actually happened so that the Bank can take preventive measures before the fraudster strikes somebody else.

Be engaged by someone on phone without verifying the phone or mobile number beyond doubt from statement of account or credit card account statement.

What to do after you have divulged your details?

Contact the Bank or Card Issuing Authority by fastest means of communication and let them know so that they can sound an alert to safeguard your Bank Account, Debit, ATM or Credit Card.

Share your experience with the friends and family about the scam so that they know what to be done in such situations.

Know about Skimming Cards, Spyware and Key Loggers:

Process of illegal copying of digital information from the magnetic strip of a debit, ATM or credit cards is called skimming and fraudsters can produce fake and/or clones cards with your copied digital information. As such never hand over your card to any waiter in the hotel, restaurant or any other third person to prevent skimming. Swipe your card yourself or in your presence and in case of no response cancel the transaction on the machine.

Free software downloaded from spam mail links or fake websites may turn out to be Spyware which can keep spying your online activities and steal your online credentials. Spyware could also be Key Loggers who can copy the key strokes on your key board to steal your passwords used for banking or other activities. To secure against such spyware your computer should be equipped with Microsoft Security Essentials and make it a habit to use virtual key boards on banking sites or wherever the facility is provided.

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