Identity fraud is increasingly common in online settings. Scammers use a variety of means to collect confidential information from users at many different types of web sites, and use that data to open credit and other unauthorized financial accounts in the names of victims. In order to protect yourself from online identify fraud, it is important to employ a few basic strategies on your own while also making use of a reputable fraud protection service.
Vary Those Usernames and Passwords
One of the easiest ways to become a victim of identity fraud is to use the same username and password at several different sites. While it may be convenient to use the same login information for shopping, paying utility bills or registering at new social networking sites, this approach provides plenty of opportunity for scammers. All they need to do is compromise the integrity of one site, secure your credentials, then identify where else you use the same name and password. In a flash, accounts are drained and new accounts are set up that you know nothing about until it is far too late.
Change Your Credentials
Even if you are diligent in using different login credentials at different sites, make it a point to change those credentials every so often. In fact, many banks are now making this mandatory, requiring customers to change the passwords and phrases they use to access their accounts through an online interface. Doing so makes it harder for scammers to secure your data and use it for their own ends.
Do Business Only with Secure Sites
Never shop at a site that is not secure. Providing even basic information like a name and a billing address is asking for trouble. Before you create an account at any online retail site, verify that it is legitimate and has strong site security. Just as you would never give your debit or credit card number to a stranger at the other end of a phone call, there is no reason to provide it to a retailer you don’t know or trust.
Get Some Help
In spite of all that users can do to protect themselves, some outside help is always a good thing. Invest in membership in a reputable fraud detection services such as LifeLock. Services of this type monitor activity involving your credit and take steps to shut down suspicious activity before it can cause a lot of damage. While costing a little to secure this type of service, all it takes is one incidence of fraud to justify that expense.