Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Online Identity Theft and other Identity Theft topics.
Online identity theft continues to be a growing concern for both individuals and law enforcement. Identifying and capturing nameless, faceless thieves who could be located anywhere in the world is no easy task. While organizations and law enforcement agencies continue to hunt down and prosecute cyber identity theft criminals, a big responsibility lies with individuals to learn how to protect their personal information from being stolen.
By now, anyone who spends a good amount of time online has heard of identity theft phishing scams. Usually via e-mail, ID thieves attempt to trick people into giving them personal information like social security numbers, credit card or bank account numbers and passwords. Fraudulent web sites are embedded into the e-mail with a clickable link. Under the guise of “updating” your account information, or “verifying” your password, victims click on the link, enter their information, and are none-the-wiser that they've just donated all the information an ID thief needs to steal their identity.
If you know what to look out for, you can avoid falling prey to a phishing scam. Not so easy to detect is the latest form of online ID theft – pharming. Without your knowledge, a virus or malicious software program is installed on your computer that hijacks your Web browser. When you type in the URL for a web site, you are seamlessly redirected to a fake copy of the same site. All the information you enter on this site can now be stolen and fraudulently used.
One of the greatest protections from phishing activity is anti-virius software that scans incoming messages for suspicious e-mails and attachments. To help protect from pharming, install anti-spyware software. It will search your computer for questionable programs that track your online activities without your knowledge.