Cybercriminals will always create ways to exploit your online identity, but sometimes the biggest threat is you. There are times when online identity threats lurk in places that you’re unaware of and you cannot protect yourself against the threat. Learning to mitigate damages is just as important as keeping the information from the wrong hands in the first place. Here are six threats facing your online identity and how to avoid them.
1. Fraudulent Credit Card Purchases on Your Credit Card
Having bank account and credit card activity alerts can warn you that purchases are being made on the credit card that you did not make. The alert will allow you to shut the credit card off immediately before any more fraudulent charges are made. In addition, any fraudulent charges that occurred before the alert sounded can be refunded to you. If you have no alert protection, you could lose thousands of dollars before the amounts are discovered.
2. Using Your SSN to Access Credit
Cybercriminals may obtain your Social Security number (SSN) and use it to open lines of credit, such as credit cards and bank loans. There are protections for this threat as well. SSN alerts and credit monitoring protection will alert you when this happens. For example, identity theft protection from LifeLock offers this service and bank account and credit card activity alerts, too.
3. Social Media Impersonators
Cybercriminals will try to impersonate you on social media to get identity information from your family and friends. To be able to impersonate you online, they must know a lot about you to be convincing.
Impersonation can be avoided by simply being careful about what you share on social media. For example, pictures you post may contain vital information that an impersonator can exploit.
4. Credential Stuffing
Credential stuffing can automate injecting stolen username and password pairs into website login forms to gain access to user account information. The usernames and passwords are stolen through phishing scams designed to convince or trick users into entering their username and password via e-mail or a fraudulent website.
The fifth threat facing your online identity is spyware. This type of software can be lurking anywhere, such as:
- Malicious websites that can learn about web browsing habits
- Tools that can intercept and interpret data traffic off of unencrypted Wi-Fi networks
- Your device: phishing can result in inserting spyware on your device to gain credentials and financial information.
6. Careless Cyber Usage
Careless cyber usage happens when you are reckless when using your devices to interact digitally. Information is gold to cybercriminals and how free you are with personal or financial information will be the biggest threat to your identity. Here are ways to protect information from digital exploitation:
- Be attentive to what information you share online or offline
- Always use secure Wi-Fi networks
- Try to avoid unencrypted websites
- Utilize Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or multi-factor authentications
- Use password managers
Tread Carefully When Digitally Interacting
When you are digitally interacting with your devices, you could be the biggest threat facing your online identity. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while using your devices, but be careful about what information you share and how you share it with others.