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Published on: 08 Mar 2017 by francisjud

Security and risk complaints online: Prevent identity theft

Just like burglars and thieves, cyber criminals have many
different ways to steal personal information and money. Just as you wouldn't
give a burglar the key to your house, make sure that you protect yourself from
fraud and online identity theft. Know the common tricks that criminals employ
to help you protect yourself from online fraud and identity theft. Here are a
few simple tips.

Don’t reply if you see a suspicious email, instant
message or webpage asking for your personal or financial information

Always be wary of any messages or sites that ask for your
personal information, or messages that refer you to an unfamiliar web page
asking for any of the following details:



Medicare numbers

Bank account numbers

PINs (Personal Identification Numbers)

Full credit card numbers

Your mother’s maiden name

Your birthday

Don’t fill out any forms or sign-in screens that might be
linked to from those messages. If someone suspicious asks you to fill out a
form with your personal information don’t be tempted to start filling it out.
Even if you don’t hit the “submit” button, you might still be sending your
information to identity thieves if you start putting your data into their

If you see a message from someone you know that doesn't
seem like them, their account may have been compromised by a cybercriminal who is trying to get
money or information from you – so be careful how you respond. Common tactics
include asking you to urgently send them money, claiming to be stranded in
another country or saying that their phone has been stolen so they cannot be
called. The message may also tell you to click on a link to see a picture,
article or video, which actually leads you to a site that might steal your
information – so think before you click!

Never enter your password if you’ve arrived at a site by
following a link in an email or chat that you don’t trust

Even if you think it’s a site that you trust, like your
bank, it’s better to go directly to the site by using a bookmark or typing in
the site’s address directly into the browser.

Don’t send your password via email and don’t share it
with others

Your passwords are the key to your accounts and services
online, and just like in your offline life, you should be careful who you give
your keys to. Legitimate sites and services won’t ask you to send them your
passwords via email, so don’t respond if you get requests for your passwords to
online sites.

Because your passwords are so important, you should think
carefully before deciding to share them with others – even friends and family.
When you share your passwords, there is a greater risk that someone may misuse
your accounts by accessing information that you don’t want them to or using the
account in ways that you don’t approve of. For example, if you share your email
password with someone, that person might read your personal emails, try to use
your email account to access other online services that you might use, like
banking or social sites, or use your account to impersonate you. Finally, when
you share your password with someone, you will have to rely on them to keep it
secure; they may share it with others on purpose or by accident.

Pay close attention when asked to sign in online

Check for signals about your connection with the website.

First, look at the address bar in your browser to see if
the URL looks real. You should also check to see if the web address begins with
which signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more
resistant to snooping or tampering. Some browsers also include a padlock icon
in the address bar beside to indicate more clearly that your connection is
encrypted and that you are more securely connected.

Report suspicious emails and scams

Most email providers, including Gmail, allow you to do
this. Reporting a suspicious message in Gmail will help block that user from
sending you more emails and help our abuse team stop similar attacks.

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