Ways to Protect Your Personal Information Online

The online space has revolutionized how people buy and sell products. Whether it’s banking, shopping, or working, the online space has you sorted. One thing many people often ignore is the prevalence of known and unknown dangers. Hackers have taken over the online space, and incidences of data breaching continue to surge.

Ways to Protect Your Personal Information Online

If you want to know how to keep your data safe, then here are some tips to try:

1. Use Secure Websites

It's arguably easier to purchase stuff from online stores and websites than to physically go to shops. With this ease in carrying out transactions comes a danger of data breaching. Any legit website should have SSL encryption that guarantees data safety. When you perform a transaction online, there's communication between your browser and the site's server. Third parties can interrupt this data transmission process if proper encryption is not in place. While websites ought to ensure their client's data is safe, it's unwise to leave the security of your data to others. Verify whether the website uses secure encryption software before performing any transaction.

2. Utilize a Double-Factor Authentication

It’s easier to prevent a problem than to solve it. Two-factor identification involves double-checking a user's login attempt authenticity, thus making it harder for hackers to infiltrate your account. This security feature requires you to verify that a login request is indeed from you. You can incorporate this feature in many apps or online services. Hackers can compromise your password through phishing scams, guessing, or other means. However, this feature makes it impossible for anyone to access your account even if they successfully cracked your initial password.

3. Be Careful with What You Post and Who You Talk to

Social media forms an integral part of our daily lives. People publish all kinds of content without paying attention to the dangers that may arise later. Posting your pet's name or birth month might not seem dangerous until you realize that it could aid hackers in breaking into your accounts. If your pet name or birth date is part of your password, then you've unknowingly given a hacker half of the clue to accessing your account and gaining access to your data.

Before engaging with someone you met online, verify their identity on Nuwber first. It’s especially important not to reveal any personal information to people you barely know. When you talk to someone, don’t reveal anything that people might later use against you.

4. Verify Bank Protection Policies

Robbing banks these days has become a challenging endeavor. Criminals would rather whisk away unsuspecting people's money online. If you frequently perform online money transfers, ensure your bank has policies and processes safeguarding your data. Black hat hackers have upped their game to defraud many people. Phishing attacks are the most common financial scam attacks.

5. Adopt Safe Browsing Practices

Today's digital world allows you to make purchases and browse through products from the comfort of your room. Online service providers pay close attention to your online activity, and so do fraudsters. Subsequently, to prevent illegal and malicious monitoring of your online activity, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for a safe connection. With a VPN, you can rest easy knowing there is an encrypted link between your browsing device and the internet.

6. Don't Share Your SSN via Email

Some circumstances may warrant you to send your social security number (SSN) via email. It could be when applying for a job, renting a car, or setting up an appointment. If anyone has your SSN, then they can gather all your data together. When an email is sent, it goes through multiple servers before getting to the recipient and can, therefore, be intercepted. Hackers can also get your SSN from the recipient's email should your email be forwarded to another party. To be safe, avoid sharing your SSN via email.

7. Use Multiple Email Accounts

Hackers are getting smarter by the day and have scammed people using email links for a long time. Many people still don't know how email scams work and will likely become future victims. Using different emails is the simplest way to ensure you don't become an email scam victim. You can have a primary email for financial affairs and another one for family and newsletters. If you want to safeguard your data, ensure your primary email remains confidential and protected with a strong password.

8. Maximize the Use of Privacy Settings

Do you know that the safety of your data is a joint duty between yourself and service providers? Online users have more control over what information is public than they know. Privacy settings allow users to consent or disagree with how their data is handled. Apps and websites today are required by law in most jurisdictions to enable their users to review privacy settings regarding personal data.

Having secure privacy settings reduces the chances of hackers getting access to sensitive data.

9. Learn More About Data Breaching

Hackers are increasingly becoming smarter and coming up with better ways to steal your data. If it were possible to have one solution to hacking, then data breaches would vanish. Unfortunately, data breaching tactics constantly change, and you must keep up. Besides phishing, hackers use more advanced techniques to steal data, such as malware and keystroke recording. You could easily fall victim to these techniques if you're unaware of them. If you want to be safe, learn about different data breaching trends and how to prevent them.

10. Set Up Malware Defense

Technology is becoming more connective by the day, and so are increasing opportunities for data breaches. How can you protect yourself from something if you don't know how it works? Malware comes from links you can unknowingly easily download from different platforms. The first safe thing is verifying whether your device is encrypted. Many phones and computers aren't securely encrypted and are, therefore, prone to malware attacks. Install antivirus or anti-malware software on all your devices to prevent malware threats.


Keeping your data safe can shield you from many dangers. Many people have fallen victim to data breaches because of a lack of access to the right information. Preventing a problem is the best and the most correct solution. Hence, it's advisable to be proactive in securing your data from all threats highlighted herein.

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Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Ways to Protect Your Personal Information Online