In a simple term, Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity such as social security number and other personal and financial data to gain a financial advantage and other benefits.
These days, people are enticed by Banks to get their own credit card. The reasons for doing so are because a cashless economy is being encouraged and offer extreme shopping incentive. Hence, many people tend to be motivated to get a credit card. But do not realize that the way they use their credit cards can greatly affect their Wellbeing. Fraudulent activities by criminals are becoming popular as they target victims that carelessly use their credit cards whenever they go shopping.
People should take note that one of the most prevalent credit card rip-offs in the society today is the identity theft, as no day goes by without such report.
It is important to know how to avoid getting into trouble by;
- Protect your vital personal/financial data: Never entertain phone calls that require you to give any personal data or information, even if the caller says he is from the bank that issued your credit card.
- Avoid freebies and offers that involve credit cards: In case you are offered with some promotions requiring you to give some personal information. Freebies will entice you to try it. In the end, it may be too late to realize that you have just been a victim of an identity theft.
- Do not carry your Credit/Debit card around: The problem with most people is that they tend to carry their cards wherever they are. You will never know what will happen while you are in a public place, where identity theft could just be lurking around, waiting for its next victim. To play safe, endeavour to stop this bad habit.
Your credit/debit card
Let’s imagine that you decide to fire your boss after you made good savings from your salary. You decide to invest in a business from all you have saved over the years. Then, just one evening, you notice several bank transaction alerts to your mobile phone. Your account via your credit/debit card is ruined, and your future dream may never be a reality. An identity thief did all these.
The above scenario may be imaginary, but similar situations have happened and may continue to happen to people especially if they give themselves over to ignorance. Remember the Book of Life says ‘’people perish because they lack knowledge’’ When this kind of scenario happens to you, your entire WellBeing will be altered. Don’t wait to become a victim of victims of identity theft.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from business and personal identity theft
- Only use your card at ATM you know and trust. Make sure there is nothing unusual, as fraudsters may plant hidden a camera to harvest PINs of a victim.
- Do not give out your card number online unless the site is secure (look for a closed lock at the address bar of your browser)
- Avoid reaching into your wallet or purse in front of the machine. Someone could snatch it while you are distracted
- When waiting in line at an ATM, stand a reasonable distance away from the person using the machine. Respect other people’s privacy.
- Remember your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don’t write it on your card or keep it in your wallet. Without the PIN, a stolen card cannot be used to get cash at an ATM or be used to make purchases at electronic POS terminals through ATM networks.
- Do not give out your Credit/Debit Card number out over the phone unless you initiated the call. It is not in the policy of financial institution personnel to ask for your Credit/Debit Card number. They have it.
- Report to the Bank, the loss, theft, or fraudulent activity immediately
- Check your monthly e-statement for any transactions you didn’t carry out. If detected, immediately report to your Bank.
- Avoid counting cash while at the ATM queue. You may be tempting a criminal.
- Avoid carrying multiple ATM cards, as this will reduce the possibility of a loss.
- Instead of using your regular Credit/Debit card online, get a pre-paid card and load e-cash only when you need to carry out a transaction online.
- Never give your PIN to anyone. If you trust that person, it can be leaked to a third party with a criminal mind.
- Ensure you do not use simple PIN to your Credit/Debit card. Also, ensure you change the default PIN on collection.
- Ensure you destroy your ATM transaction. Don’t just throw them away, as it may be used it for different criminal activities which can land you in trouble.
- Never respond to any request from anyone requesting you send your PIN or CVV. If you reveal all these, fraudsters may operate your account from anywhere.
Don’t be a victim online
What will you do if you receive an email from your bank telling or warning that your update your bank account data or your account will be suspended? And in the email, there is a link to which you should click and get your account updated. Without giving a second thought, most people will click on the link in the email which may take them to a fake bank web site. Even to the extent of giving the password and name assigned to their Bank card. In less than no time, you will only realize you just handed over your hard-earned money to some unknown criminals.
Many people have become a victim just from cases even like the one above. Phishing websites in our present day have become a way of stealing people’s identity electronically. If this has become a trend that can negatively alter one’s Wellbeing, then how can you protect yourself from being a victim?
Note that online criminals do everything possible to make phishing web sites look exactly like real bank website, making it difficult for you to recognize a fraud. Nevertheless, there are a couple of sign to alert you to possible danger.
Firstly, carefully look at the email whether the email is addressed to your name. Authentic emails from your bank will use your identity in the salutation. Otherwise, suspect danger.
Secondly, consider what the email is saying. Phishing schemes often use scare tactics at the beginning, such as telling you that your account is being suspended, to make you act quickly and without thinking twice. Relax, if your bank will be sending you a suspension notification email, they will contact you by phone, asking you to come in person to the Bank.
Thirdly, never attempt to click such link in an email as it will redirect you to the attackers’ web site. Never click such link, instead, type the Bank website into the system yourself (this method is to verify the status of the website). Call your bank immediately.
In conclusion, credit/debit card users should be responsible enough not to allow these fraudulent activities to happen. Bear in mind that the reason why these kinds of frauds exist is that information owners are not so conscious of what could go wrong when their vital data is not protected.