How To Stop Hackers From Stealing Your Personal Information
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Hackers are good at what they do, and their methods are constantly changing, so how do we stop them from stealing our personal identification information?
Unfortunately, there is no one defining answer to that question.
But you can decrease the chances of being scammed by knowing what tactics they use. After all, prevention is better than a cure.
So, read on and help fortify your defenses.
1. Phishing Emails Scams
I’m starting with phishing emails because they are the most common tactic the hackers use. Thieves have this scam down to a fine art, and even the most-canny of internet users can fall foul to this con.
One of their approaches is to mimic a company that you frequently use and trust. They will contact you via an email, informing you that there has been a problem with a recent purchase you made and ask you to follow a link to what you believe is an authentic webpage, but of course, it`s a copy. Once you enter your login details, they use them to purchase products from your trusted store.
Another approach is they claim to be your bank or credit card company and ask you to confirm your personal information or credit card number. To avoid being caught in this way, remember that your bank will never ask you to give your PII over the phone.
2. Fraudulent phone calls
You might think that you won’t get caught this way, but millions of people do every year because the caller is so convincing. They appear this way due to pre calling surveillance; this means they know what services you use and then pretend to be calling from that provider.
Some of the tactics they employ are:
- Calling you about your credit score, alerting you to a possible problem that they can only fix after you provide your personal information.
- Calling you about a fault with your internet service, and then asking you to download an app onto your computer that will resolve it, when of course all it does it steal your PII.
Again remember, your service provider will never call and ask you to do this. But if you think you may have been hacked but are unsure, you can gain clarity by knowing the signs that you have been hacked. These will notify you well in advance of receiving your next bank statement and could save you a lot of financial heartaches.
3. Card Skimming Cons
You’ve most likely heard of the term, credit card skimming, but do you know all of the ways that scammers do it?
Skim cons come in a variety of guises. The most common is the device added to an ATM and skims your credit card details when you withdraw cash. Quite often, these are connected to ATMs at gas stations, or in rural locations. Originally the devices were quite significant and noticeable to the trained eye, but as they’ve become more advanced, they have become more challenging to detect.
But they can also be used in your favorite local restaurant:
Most of us use a card to pay the check, and more often than not, we aren’t present when the card details are being taken, especially where table service is provided. This gives the thief ample time and opportunity to use their skimmer to clear out your available balance.
4. Contactless Card Reading Theft
This scam is one where no contact by the thief is necessary to skim your credit card details.
Cards that can be used to pay without having to swipe them were introduced for our convenience. However, they are also a golden ticket for hackers who have the technology required to skim your card from a distance.
If you have this type of RFID (radio frequency identification) card, then you’re open to this scam. All a thief has to do is get close enough to you so their card reader can skim your details. This can happen anywhere, and of course, you have no way of knowing it’s happening.
One way of stopping this is by buying an anti-skim wallet with RFID blocking material.
5. Malware and Viruses
There are numerous ways you can be scammed by Malware and viruses, and hackers use them all.
- Using an open public WI-FI network, the only advice here is if you have information on your device that you wish to keep secure, don’t use them.
- Using a public computer that hackers have corrupted with Malware that will read your details when entered. Again, only use one if essential.
- Hackers can infiltrate systems that are holding your account details, such as banks and retailers. You can do nothing about this, so check your statements regularly.
Another way hackers gain access to your PPI is by emailing you an attachment, designed to appear harmless, but once opened, it will download onto your device and skim your personal information. Your stolen PPI can then be used in a variety of ways to access your funds and even your medical insurance. This scam is easily avoided by never opening an attachment that you weren’t expecting or from a source that is unfamiliar to you.
While we can’t stop hackers from trying to scam us, we can prevent them from succeeding. Always trust your instincts, and if something seems unusual or strange, then don’t use or open it. By knowing how they do it and applying some home security, we can fortify our defenses enough to keep the hackers out of our computers and away from our personal identity information.
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