The Roundup -

Protecting Yourself From Online Identity Theft Scams

 


Phishing attacks have been on the rise since they were first discovered in 2005, according to FINRA.org. As explained by FINRA.org, phishing attacks are scams using spam emails or a fake website luring individuals to reveal bank/brokerage account information, passwords, or other confidential information.

Many of these phishing scams involve emails that falsely claim to be from firms, banks, credit cards, or business you may be familiar with and use. These attempts, according to FINRA.org, can be sneaky, they request a reply to the email, or click on the link that will take you to a website that mimics a legitimate website. Many of the messages use items to lower your guard,

such as saying your account will be shut down unless you update your information, or you need to reactive your account due to an update. They may even falsely claim you owe them money. You may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from online identity theft.

FINRA.org has seven tips to help protect you from online identity theft:

1. Beware of email requests for personal information- don’t reply or click on links from unsolicited emails that ask for personal information even if it looks legitimate. When in doubt, check with your institution by checking your online accounts or give them a call.

2. Leave suspicious websites- if a website you are on does not appear legitimate, leave it.

3. Keep your personal and financial information secure online- you can do this by keeping your computer system up to date, use antivirus software, change your passwords regularly, and remember to log off legitimate websites after completing a transaction.

4. Know who you are doing business with- before choosing to open an account, make sure you are familiar with who you are working with. You can verify the phone number and address of the firm you are considering doing business with.

5. It is a good idea to check your credit report every year- to help guard against identity theft; check your report and review it to make sure all the information is accurate.

6. Review your account statements- (this is your last line of defense)- if you have become victimized, the sooner you catch this, the better. You can do this by regularly checking your online accounts or your statements.

7. Act quickly if you believe you have been scammed- if you think you have been a victim of one of these scams, you need to act fast. If you believe your identity has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft website contains directions on what you can do in this instance.

Phishing attempts have many victims; with these steps, you can prevent being scammed. If you have been a victim of a scam or think you may have been, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether from your banking institutions or through the businesses you purchased from.

 

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