Would you give your personal details to a stranger on the street?
The last decade has seen rapid growth in the area of internet fraud – crimes range from stolen identity to access bank accounts and use credit cards – to creating new identities altogether.
Often people are “tricked” into supplying personal data and financial information via spurious emails claiming to be from authentic sites, such as banking institutions or auction sites.
There are steps one can take to avoid the nasty business of identity theft online; many are basic “common sense” approaches – simply checking before you give information out – “would I normally do this? Or would I do this in a non-internet scenario?”
The simple fact of online theft is: these “thieves” are trying to steal money from the individual or steal the identity of the individual for another purpose such as a loan application or mortgage. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you received a demand for a mortgage or loan you’d never applied for? Worse still, what if your savings or current accounts were emptied by some hacker?
In addition to the horror of these potential situations, victims of such theft can spend hundreds of hours trying to clear their names with banks or credit agencies.
So, how do you avoid falling foul to these internet gangsters? We recommend following some simple guidelines; including the straightforward rule of “if I wouldn’t give this to a stranger, why am I putting it on the internet?” There are other key considerations such as: where you keep your driving license and other forms of I.D. and how you store or destroy bills and statements. It is imperative that you don’t (albeit accidentally!) leave a trail of information for any willing identity thief to collect. Most importantly, don’t be fooled into thinking “it won’t happen to me”.