Cyber fraud continues to flourish as perpetrators of crimes in the Internet continue to elude arrest. The notion of remaining anonymous and residing in a different part of the world where the cybercrime attack is executed gives cybercriminals a sense of security. As security experts worldwide and the agencies created to focus in the resolution of cyber fraud cases labour to catch the criminals before more damage is done, Internet users must take extra effort for self protection when transacting business online.
The most common type of cyber fraud that victimizes thousands of Internet users involves identity theft. Identity theft is a criminal offense wherein the financial and personal credentials of one person are obtained through deceit, and then used in transactions for personal gain. Though identity theft is done by pilfering information from transaction records, lost identification and credit cards, and by stealing personal effects, the preferred tool by criminals in doing this is through Internet scams.
When your personal information is stolen through cyber fraud, you remain ignorant of the fact until you discover anomalous fund transfers from your bank account and fraudulent purchases using your credit card. By then, financial loss has been inflicted by the fraudster, and recovering your losses can be difficult. You join the ranks of other cyber fraud victims with combined financial losses that run into millions of dollars annually.
Identity theft is executed in the Internet through hacking attacks that target the records of financial institutions and from the successful hacking of your computer, email, or social media account. You are exposed to identity theft attacks when you visit phishing websites and when you fall victim to social networking scams. Hacking is employed in various types of cyber attacks, and you become susceptible when your computer system is not protected, when you download free software from unknown sources, and when failing to update your operating system and browser.
When using the Internet, there are some practical tips that you can use to block cyber fraud attacks that lead to identity theft. These tips can be invaluable in protecting your Internet transactions since malware attacks can come at any time and the type of attack launched against you can take different forms.
- Use strong passwords for your online accounts. Your password is your first line of defense against hacking, and cracking it is the first step for a fraudster to steal your identity. It is likewise important to use different passwords for your accounts. When a hacker compromises one of your accounts, he may not be able to commit cyber fraud if your other accounts are strongly protected by different passwords. Changing your password as often as necessary is important when you suspect the possibility of hacking attacks.
- Run regular antivirus and anti-spyware scans to remove malware from your computer. Malware is employed by hackers to get access to your files, particularly keyloggers and spyware that can record information and remain undetected. Strong security software is required to remove these malicious programmes that allow cyber criminals to remotely access your important computer files.
- Limit the number of people who can access your profile from your social media accounts. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are identified launching sites for cyber fraud, so you should be careful in the amount of personal information that you post and the number of people who see these posts.