The blessing of online shopping is that no one can be mugged. The bad news, however, is that the risk of theft is still there. The risk of financial identity theft has become considerably high, especially after the advancement of online shopping platforms. Cybercriminals are skilled in accessing anyone’s computer and, eventually, their bank account details. They can even use children’s toys to access information.
Living in the 21st century means having access to any information and services, but one has to be very vigilant while providing his financial information for any online service.
An online business can be troubling for both customers and vendors. Customers have to deal with the risk of financial identity theft. On the other side, online merchants can fall victim to credit card scams, which can be avoided using a reliable credit card validator online to verify the authenticity of credit cards.
Hopefully, this article would help you understand the dangers of financial identity theft, and the strategies described below would help you understand how to avoid it.
What is Financial Identity Theft?
Financial identity theft is described as the act of stealing someone’s financial information and using it without their consent, thereby committing a crime.
Cybercriminals first get their hands on the victim’s personal information to steal their financial identity, which includes their name, address, parent’s name, driver’s license, credit card number, bank account number, and online passwords.
How to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft?
You can take several precautionary measures to keep your identity protected from hackers and scammers. Here are some simple ways to keep your financial identity safe:
- Ensure the Protection of Your Devices:
No matter which device you use for online transactions, including tablets, smartphones, laptops, or desktop computers, you must install an anti-malware device in all of them. Anti-virus software is extremely beneficial in protecting your device and the vital data that is stored in it.
- Use Wireless Networks Carefully:
While using a private Wi-fi network, protect it with a strong password. Make sure your password is not easy to guess or assume by anyone. In case you are using a public network, use a virtual private network. VPN helps to send your data safely through the internet.
- Shop from a Reliable Website:
Whatever you want to buy, make sure you buy it from an authentic website. Don’t risk providing your sensitive information to shady vendors because they might scam you and steal your money. A quick research about any website will be great to avoid fraud. Look for reviews, but keep in mind that you might come across several paid reviews too. Therefore, for online shopping, using websites that are famous worldwide is your best bet.
- Shop from a Secure Website
A secure website will always have Secure Socket Layers (SSL) encryption. There are numerous ways to verify the presence of SSL on a website such as observing the URL, which should start with ‘http://’ or ‘https://’ and checking out the lock icon, which should be somewhere close to the URL. The exact location of the lock icon varies in every browser.
- Keep Your Password Strong:
For every shopping website, your password should be different. When you select a password, keep in mind that it must be strong to mitigate the threat of financial theft. By selecting a weak password, you will make it easy for cybercriminals to crack your password.
- Never Let a Website Save Your Information:
You should never save your sensitive information on any website, whether it seems authentic or shady. Fraudsters can get access to genuine websites and hack them easily. That’s why you should never trust any website to save your data regardless of their authenticity.
- Refrain from Sharing Non-Essential Data:
Many websites will ask for your data that has nothing to do with the transaction, such as your birth date. They do so to improve their customer relationships for online shopping. While their intentions might mean well, the hackers can take advantage of this additional information and disguise you online.
Your information is the key to your bank account. It should never fall into the wrong hands. You must take every possible step that can protect you from evil genius hackers who can access your financial details quite easily if your data in no time.