Cyber theft and fraud are an unfortunate part of life in the digital era. With a few basic steps, however, you can help protect your personal information from nefarious forces in cyberspace. U.S. Bank advises being aware of the following in order to stay safe:
– Never reply to emails, phone calls or text messages that request your personal information, such as account and PIN numbers, usernames, passwords or one-time passcodes sent to your mobile device. Banks, credit card companies, etc., will only ask for basic personal information to help verify your identity when you place a call to them.
– Phishing scams are often initiated by phone calls, voicemails, text messages or emails. This is meant to trick you into providing your personal information so that fraudsters can steal your identity or money.
– If you receive a suspicious communication from someone claiming to be your bank or lender, report the information immediately to the entity involved.
– Consistently monitor your online accounts, print statements and bills. Such vigilance will help you catch any fraudulent activity before damage is done. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
Other best practices that will help protect you in the cyber world include:
- Creating more complicated passwords that include a combination of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols
- Changing passwords frequently
- Opting for two-step authentication when it’s offered
- Not accessing sensitive online information via public WiFi
While keeping your information safe in today’s world might involve a few extra steps, the consequences of cyber fraud can be extremely damaging and difficult to recover from, so consider the small investment of time well worth it.