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Steps: How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Credit Fraud

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Credit Fraud and Identity Theft are the two nightmares that might haunt businesses at some point time. All the more, like nightmares, these come suddenly and might affect businesses that are on a guard. It is said that even the most vigilant ones too lose their information online or offline and become victims of business credit fraud and identity theft.

Nowadays, it is seemingly easier for fraudsters to steal data. Thanks to a lot of websites, social networking, fake banking, and mobile wallet apps which have helped in exposing the sensitive personal information of individuals and businesses. 

Extent & Kinds of Identity Theft And Credit Frauds

As per an estimate, over 90 lakh people in the US are exposed to identity theft in a year. The number could be lesser in India but it is a fact that the numbers are on the rise with the digitalization wave. Most cases are related to the theft of credit card information and these are not considered to be complete identity theft. Complete identity theft is when someone is able to access, or close bank accounts or lockers registered in your name. The worst identity theft is the one when the fraudster is able to open accounts in your name.

The onus of Proof of Identity Theft or Credit Fraud

In a large number of cases, ascertaining liability becomes cumbersome and the onus is on the victim that despite all abundant precautions, the stealing has happened. However, in cases where the victim could be at a fault such as when he had voluntarily shared ID or password with someone then the case might weaken and it could take years to get a final verdict.

In India stealing someone’s identity is relatively easier and cheaper. Reports and revelations in cases cracked by police suggest that identities were available for sale. Besides, it was also found out that illiteracy and lack of awareness about the precautions related to banking and other payment-related mobile app operations have resulted in a number of people falling victim to fraudsters.

Here are some no-cost, hassle-free, and easy steps you can follow to protect yourself from credit fraud and identity theft.

Filter Your Information that You Post Online

When you shop online, shopping websites, mobile, and web applications ask you personal as well as banking information so that you need not enter them again during further shopping sessions. Here, users must be beware and careful while entering information. DO NOT post information that could vital in revealing your financial or identity information unless the websites or application is a trusted one. Next, check and make sure that the credit card, debit card, wallet, or UPI information you enter is stored safely and properly and there is no scope of others sneaking into your personal data. However, you cannot be always sure as at some point or the other, the information might end up in the hands of hackers or fraudsters as even the most robust and safest servers might get hacked.

Change Login and Password Information Regularly

Updating and changing login and password information on a regular basis decreases the possibility of unauthorized access to your data. Besides, it is also important that you adhere to the impossible-to-crack password norms and keep your login and password info safely kept so that you might not get locked out.

Don’t Reveal Critical Info to Unknown Persons

It is dangerous to answer critical information to unknown persons or even someone posing as your distant relative or friend of friends. Critical info includes but not limited to personal info such as full name, date of birth, Aadhaar ID number, bank account details, mother’s maiden name, vehicle registration number, bank account login or password, wallet, or UPI login or passcode, etc. The most popular among critical info is the One Time Password or Passcode which is shared by the bank or wallet or UPI at the time of transaction. Fraudsters posing as a bank representative or verification officer often ask for OTP. Never reveal OTP to anybody unless you are 100% sure that the person is a trusted one.

Beware of Phishing, Tricksters, and Mimics

Oftentimes, when you try to access bank website, some phishing lookalike website or fake website opens up. You have to be extra cautious while accessing bank websites and double-check the Unique Resource Locator or URL with that of your bank’s legitimate website and always look the ‘lock’ icon and ‘https’ before the URL. Besides, do not click on any of the popups that open up during the access.

Keep A Close Watch on Your Bank, Credit Card, Wallet Statements

A large number of cases reveal that fraudsters make small transactions before going for the big ones and wait that whether you notice that or not. Thus, it is important to keep an eye on every transaction on the statement, and not leave anyone out thinking that it might have been made by some member of your family.

Intimate Bank About Your Change in Address or Change in Other Details

Keeping your information updated with the bank could avoid a lot of trouble. This way you get your statements on time and surely this will help you keep an eye on every transaction.

Dispose Bank or Finance Related Documents Carefully

It is advisable to dispose of old or used bank statements, credit reports or bills, or any other discarded or unused bank or finance-related document carefully and properly. This will ensure that any information printed or otherwise written on them does not land in the hands of fraudsters.

Remember the Word Has Become Virtual And No One Is Safe

It is said that since the world has become one due to advanced means of communication and virtual due to up in the use of digital modes for financial transactions, it is not safe for anyone. Even it is not safe for even those who take the most abundant precautions. But it is sure that taking the above precautions might reduce the chances of credit fraud or identity theft to the lowest level.