Practical Ways Online Volunteers Can Protect Themselves From Identity Theft

Before we get into the “nitty-gritty” of this article, let’s establish the concept of volunteering.

In simple terms, volunteering is a voluntary act where an individual gives up his/her free time and effort to serve the community.

Amway Volunteers is an online platform that motivates, assures, and advises people to volunteer their time and effort towards non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

 The benefits of volunteering are massive. These benefits include; learning new skills, making friends, advancing your career, fighting loneliness, and improving your self-esteem and confidence.

 If you’re volunteering for the first time, you must choose a cause or organization that perfectly accentuates your beliefs.

 When you’re volunteering on an online platform, you’ll want to protect yourself from identity theft. Below, we’ll analyze succinctly the term “identity theft” and the steps you’re to take to protect yourself from it.

 

Identity Theft: What Does it Entail?

Any form of deception, crime, or scam leading to personal data loss that includes passwords, credit card information, social security numbers, usernames, and other forms of ID is known as identity theft.

Here, crooks use this information without your authorization to carry out fraud and a host of other cybercrimes.

Identity theft is a big problem, with financial losses amounting to over $50 billion annually. According to the FTC, more than 9 million Americans have their identities stolen or tampered with yearly.

Some individuals consider identity theft a minor inconvenience that is easily resolvable.

To others, identity theft results in the loss of thousands of dollars, dents their reputation, and warrants rejection of loan applications due to bad credit scores.

 Also, people are arrested and face jail time for crimes committed by another individual using their identities.

How Are Identities Stolen?

When it comes to stealing things, the creativity and imagination of the human mind are limitless.

 The following are means criminals use to gain unfettered access to the personal information of a person. They include:

Your Trash

Here, dumpster divers connect the dots from old financial statements and bills to get your name, phone number, bank name, account number, and so on.

 Access to this information allows them to open accounts in your name easily or assume your identity.

Mail

By hacking your mail, criminals can take full advantage of a credit card offer, open accounts in your name, and shop freely on e-commerce sites.

Phishing

At one point or the other, we’ve received emails from faux financial institutions prompting us to provide personal information to enable them to update their records. Well, that’s phishing in its full regalia.

 Typically, cybercriminals deceive unsuspecting customers into responding to emails borne out to capture personal information.

Skimming

Criminals sometimes can manipulate ATMs by using skimming devices. These devices capture the account information of whosoever makes use of that ATM.

Conning

If you’ve ever called a bank’s customer service number to access your account, they’re steps you must go through to verify your identity.

 These days, smooth-talking criminals can dubiously go through those safeguards and trick the company’s representative into divulging private information of an individual needed to fill out loan applications, change of address forms, and necessary paperwork to obtain a replacement driver’s license in your name.

 While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the primary means a criminal can obtain your private information without you being aware.

Protecting Your Identity Online

With hackers always on the prowl, how can you protect your personal information online?

 Here are some critical steps to take to make identity theft a thing of the past:

Know-How to Spot Spams and Scams

While some phishing sites are easily identifiable, some of them look very genuine. To avoid a phishing scam, make sure you never click on links sent to you by unverified sources.

 Sometimes, you get mail from your bank that has all the right logos and wordings. Mails like this can be from your bank or a scammer.

 How do you know if it’s a scam or not? When you’re sent a link, instead of opening it, use a search engine to look for the website. It’s crucial to know if the site’s a legitimate one and not some fake mock-up.

 Protect Your Computer and Smartphone With Up-to-date Security

If there’s malware on your smartphone or computer, safeguards are of little help because you’ve just given criminals unfettered access to your information.

 Make sure all your security apps are up-to-date and install any pending software updates.

 A trusted way to keep your identity protected is by subscribing to Home Background Heroes. It comes with various subscription plans that are pocket friendly.

Use Strong Passwords

Most people use very weak passwords like “1234,” “0000,” “abcd.” Criminals can guess these passcodes easily and steal your identity.

 Make sure your passwords include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, and you’ll want  it to have no relation with your personal information (like date of birth, name, pet, birthday).

Shop on Reputable Websites

With so many e-commerce websites on the web, you’ll want to do your homework before making a purchase.

 Consider the following:

  • Positive user feedback
  • A safe and secure website
  • Are they rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

 If they meet all the above requirements, you can go ahead to shop. However, if they don’t, steer clear as most of them are mock-up sites used to steal credit card information.

Review Your Credit Score

Look to see if there are any new credit cards, loan applications, and transactions you never authorized.

 If you suspect any foul play, take steps to have them revoked and investigated.

Summary

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Follow the above steps to the latter to ensure that your identity never gets stolen online.

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