Are you doing enough to reduce the risk of having your identity stolen?
By Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET South Africa
As you start the New Year, this is a good time to reflect on what kind of measures you should take to prevent thieves from stealing and using your personally identifiable information (PII) for fraudulent activities.
As more and more of our personal information is online and cybercriminals target everything from bank accounts to tax refunds, identity theft is a growing concern.
With your sensitive information in their hands, crooks can make fraudulent purchases, open new accounts or apply for loans in your name.
Taking steps to protect your identity on and offline is important. ESET offers some tips on securing your devices and identity:
* Personal information – Every time you are asked for personal information make sure the request is legitimate and question whether it is necessary and avoid oversharing on social media.
* Monitor accounts – Frequently monitor your financial accounts and open physical mails in a timely fashion and watch for any strange transactions.
* SIM swapping – Don’t forget to protect your mobile phone account. There is a growing issue of SIM swapping. This is where someone takes control of your phone number by getting a replacement SIM with very little information about the subscriber the phone companies will issue a new SIM. Once the cybercriminals control your phone number, they reset passwords and emails for online services. Your phone is the way many companies including banks confirm your identity to secure the account with a pin number and any other way that they provide security on the account.
* Passphrases – Anything connected to your home network needs to have unique passwords that update software. Use passphrases not just simple passwords or use a password manager that creates complex passwords for you.
* Multi-factor – Implement multi-factor authentication, this is where something you have and something your know are used to add security – it’s the option to use an app or SMS messenger to receive or generate a number that confirms your identity when logging in or transacting, an app is more secure than SMS.
* Anti-malware – Make sure you have anti-malware software installed and updated on all your devices – even your Smart TVs.
* Encryption – Switch on whole device encryption so that if a device gets stolen, they won’t be able to access the data.
* Shred documents – Shred documents that have personal information on them even if it’s just your name and address on it.