After previously taking a look at the various methods employed to steal money the hi-tech way, below are some considerations, tips and closing thoughts about how to avoid becoming a victim to these schemes.
Nowadays a robbery is no longer exclusively about guns and taking people hostage, well at least not in the literal sense. Today a robbery can just as easily be done in the comfort of one’s home using email as the tool of choice. A robbery can be committed with the simple gesture of sliding a credit card through a skimmer or as simply as applying for a new credit card using someone else’s identity.
But what does it all ultimately mean? Should we just drop the digital age and go back to the Stone Age? Should we be all paranoid and never even get a credit card? No, there is no need for such extreme measures. As they say knowledge is power and being aware of the dangers can go a long way to prevent these undesirable scenarios from occurring.
If you’re at an ATM check that there are no objects lying around that do not belong to that environment. Ensure that there are no foreign objects in front of the card slot and when typing your P.I.N. cover the keypad with your other hand. If there are foreign objects or suspicious-looking items talk to the bank personnel and ask them to check it out.
When using a credit card keep an eye on it and ensure that it is not swiped anywhere except on the legitimate credit card company terminals. Check your statement regularly and ensure that there are no transactions listed that you didn’t authorize. If in the unfortunate event there are transactions that you do not recognize call the credit card company and let them know immediately.
Always protect your data. Never give out information such as social security numbers to strangers. A good rule to follow so as to know what information you should never disclose to people is to keep in mind the questions that various institutions ask when they need you to prove your identity, for example when you apply for a credit card, or when you call your telephone company. If you disclose certain personal information to outsiders, then they will easily be able to impersonate you and these institutions will think that they are in fact talking to you! Identity theft is a serious issue that can be very hard and tedious to get out of. After all once someone steals your identity you cannot simply change it like you would a credit card, so ensure that you always protect your personal data. Simple things such as shredding documents that contain certain confidential data instead of just throwing them out can help.
Life online is full of people trying to steal from other people. These malicious individuals try to lure people with promises of great riches. The trouble starts when victims start believing in these promises and believe that all their dreams will come true if they pay small amounts of money to these people. The initial payments seem negligible compared to the promised gains but these things tend to escalate and these ruthless individuals will try to extort every last penny until that individual is unwilling or unable to pay more. In some cases when this happens the victim is contacted by a supposed official who can ‘help’ them recover their money – at a small cost… this is just a continuation of the scam which again should be ignored and reported to the police.
Another important factor is one’s behavior online. As much as protecting your information is important so is protecting your environment. Ensure that your computer is not compromised. Do not run applications which you do not need and always be careful as to what attachments you open in your email. Even if an email is seemingly sent from a friend it’s quite possible that it is actually a Trojan that has infected your friend’s PC and is trying to spread by email. Always have an anti-virus solution running and always ensure that your environment is up to date. Most outbreaks would be prevented if people installed the latest security patches for their operating system in a timely fashion.