Bad actors are everywhere, and they are looking for ways to steal your identity. Even the worst thieves that simply copy your card information at a restaurant can keep chargeback services busy with fraudulent charges. The more sophisticated thieves spoof websites and use malware to capture all the information they need to sell your identity on the dark web. Shopping online is so convenient, but as Ethoca CNP Solutions can attest, it comes with risk, so you should take every opportunity to thwart the efforts of cybercriminals.

Think Before You Act

This one should be simple, but with the increasingly slick presentation in emails and websites, almost anyone can be fooled. Cybercrime is escalating because they have found ways to make you believe that the email or website belongs to your bank, credit card company or even the IRS by using official logos and URLs that are very close to the real ones. If you get an email asking you to log in and take any action, do not use the links contained in the email.

Go to the Source

You have a few options if you get an email requesting action. You can log onto the company’s posted website from your credit card or statements and look in the message center to see if there are any notifications there. Otherwise, you can call the company to say that you got an email requesting information to know if it is legitimate. Finally, if it does turn out to be phishing, report it to the company that is being spoofed.

Freeze Your Credit Reports

If your credit reports are frozen, no one, even you, can get credit without lifting the freeze. Many people never think to check their credit reports until it is too late. You can prevent someone from ruining your credit and stealing your identity by putting a freeze on your credit at the three major credit-reporting firms: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Use a Password Vault

Password vaults are a great way to secure your multiple credentials, particularly compared to notebooks, spreadsheets or using one password for everything. They store your username/password combinations securely and send a strong, unique password to the sites so that your credentials can’t be captured. They vary from free like LastPass to subscription like 1Password.

Go Paperless

All crime isn’t high-tech. Before the internet, people used bank statements, credit card statements and other documents left lying around or thrown in the trash to steal personal information. Go to paperless statements. It is eco-friendly and more secure than paper.

Stay cautious and be prepared. By using a little planning and forethought, you can protect yourself from identity theft.