In the world that we live in today digital transactions are fast becoming common. As convenient as it is to make transactions in the virtual space, there is also a lot of threat that we unknowingly expose ourselves too. As a consumer of credit, if you do not take care to protect your personal information, there is no saying when you may become a victim of identity theft. Simply put, an identity theft occurs when an unknown person hacks into your personal information and uses your credit identity to commit fraud or even criminal activities.
Identity thefts can be of various degrees. Identity thefts in India are largely limited to credit card frauds. This is when a fraudster lays his hand on your credit card information to make purchases that you have nothing to do with. It can however turn out to be much more serious in nature where a fraudster uses your entire credit profile and credit history to open loan accounts in your name. This can ruin your credit history and the rectification of the same may turn out to be a long and tedious process.
To prevent yourself from going through such pains of having to restore your credit history, you must resolve to protect yourself from identity theft. Here are some simple ways to do it:
Keep a vigil on the information you share online
With more and more stress on the need to go digital, most of us make almost all transactions online. If you are regularly using internet banking or use your credit card for shopping be very careful about the information that you share online. Avoid saving net banking passwords and do not login to you banking account when you are on an unsecured network.
If your login and password is used on an unsecured network, it is a matter of minutes for a hacker to nab all your personal information. If you must make a purchase when you are on a public network, use your credit card, as it has a better safety net. Besides the loss if any on a credit card is notional. Thus when you get an intimation about a fraudulent transaction, you can report it to the card issuer immediately and reverse the transaction.
Beware of phishing
Phishing is a trick in which pop ups that look very similar to real banking pages try to extract your personal information in a bid to bait you with an attractive home loan or an online credit card offer. Do bear in mind that no legitimate bank will try and extract genuine personal information through pop ups or phone calls. Also, make sure that when you are making any transaction in the virtual space, you are doing so on a website that has adequate security controls.
Keep a check on your credit card statements
Make it a point to read your credit card statements very month. This is not only to know your spending pattern but to understand if there are any suspicious transactions. Any transaction that does not look familiar should immediately be cross checked with your issuer.
Do not leave a paper trail
Most of us do not pay attention to the amount of paper trail that we leave. For instance, the slip that comes out from an ATM or an old credit card statement reveals important financial information. Be careful not to leave such things lying around and get into the habit of shredding or tearing such physical documents up before discarding them.
Do not share your credit cards
While it is fair for you to say that money or finances should not come in the way of personal relationships, it is not wise to share your credit card with family members or even your spouse. As a rule of thumb, you should not let your credit card gout of your sight. If you are really keen on sharing your card benefits with a particular family member, get him or her an add on credit card instead.
Safeguard your personal information
Do not give out bank account logins, passwords, Aadhar card information to anyone posing to be a bank employee or a representative of a credit card company. Before you reveal any personal information, check with the said financial institution whether there is really a need to share sensitive financial details with a bank/credit card with a company representative no matter however genuine his offer may seem.
Keep a strict watch on your CIBIL report
If you wish to safeguard your identity and improve your CIBIL score in the long run, you must make it a habit to check your CIBIL score annually or bi annually. This is to ensure that errors and discrepancies do not creep into your report. If you spot any anomaly in your CIBIL report, do not waste any time in raising a CIBIL dispute and rectifying the error at the earliest.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your identity remains safe. If you have not implemented these steps already, this is time to do so! Make a resolve to protect yourself from identity theft at the earliest this year.
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