Every day more and more sensitive information is exchanged online. This creates a fertile ground for cybercriminals to develop and initiate attacks as they are constantly looking for new ways to get profit at someone else’s expense. Do you often reuse your password? Do you fill out personality quizzes on Facebook? Do you have one email for all of your communications and social networks? If your answer is yes for all of these questions, you are an optimal target for cybercriminals.
Understanding what you are fighting against and staying proactive is more imperative than ever. The most impactful fraud type that can affect any individual is identity theft, most specifically account takeover. Luckily, according to SEON’s protection for account takeovers there are some easy steps you can take other than using services that protect you from identity theft of course, to reduce the risk of this happening to you.
What Is Account Takeover Fraud?
This type of fraud happens when fraudsters get access to your online accounts through cyber attacks like data breach or phishing attacks and use them for their malicious purposes. This can be anything, from withdrawing your own money or making purchases, using it to launch phishing attacks on somebody else, or by selling your data. For example, celebrities are often targeted so that their account can be used to lure their followers to send fraudsters money.
How to spot the account takeover fraud attempt
The account takeover fraud might be hard to recognize, but there are some red flags you can look out for to help limit the damage.
- Receiving emails asking you to confirm the change of your account details
- Receiving suspicious login alert
- Not being able to log in to your account
- Any unexpected activity on your social media platforms
- Discovering transactions on your bank statement that you do not recognize.
- Noticing you are no longer receiving your card or bank account statements or that you have received somebody else’s
By being mindful of what is happening with your account, you will be able to react on time and prevent fraudsters from causing any significant damage.
How to protect your account against fraudsters?
By following these simple security tips, you will be able to protect your account from takeover.
Keep all of your devices up to date
One of the most simple and effective ways to protect your account and your personal information is by having the latest security updates for all of your devices, from software to operating system and all of the apps. The most common way cybercriminals can get access to your account is by exploiting a security vulnerability of software that was not updated with the latest security patches. By turning on automatic updates, you would not even have to do anything but wait until the system installs the newest patches as soon as they become available.
Never trust an email you did not expect to receive
You need to be mindful of all the communication you receive as cybercriminals often use unsuspecting emails to gain access to the user. They might invite you to click on a link that will infect your device with malware or they might pretend they are a trusted source and ask you to provide personal information as a matter of urgency. They can pretend to be your bank or tax services. It is better to be suspicious and contact the company that sent you that email than to risk losing your account.
Use different passwords on different sites
The worst thing about having access to numerous online accounts is remembering the passwords for all of them, which is why people often reuse their passwords. Even though this makes our lives easier, it also makes it easier for cyber criminals to gain access, not to one of our accounts but all of them that have the same or a similar password. Also, following Wired simple steps for password protection, helps you reduce third parties gaining access to any of your accounts.
Enable two-step verification
A lot of different websites are now offering two-step verification and you should definitely utilize it as much as you can. This provides an additional layer of security for your account, which means that even if the fraudsters have your username and password they still won’t be able to breach your account as they won’t have access to additional verification steps.
You shouldn’t stop using social media platforms altogether, but you need to start being more mindful about what you are putting out there. Do not publish data that can be used to gain access to your account or answer any questions that might seem suspicious like what is the name of the street you grew up on, or your mother’s maiden name as those are often security questions that need to be answered in order to access somebody’s account.