Identity Scams You Should Watch Out For

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Scamming has become more sophisticated. With computer systems for banks and online payments rising in popularity, there are now more access points than ever before. Identity theft in particular has become big business, and there is now a greater premium than ever before on unlocking the secrets to accessing others' identity online.

The techniques and technologies used change and evolve on a regular basis. Security experts and IT firms like Oracle are engaged in a constant battle to develop more rigorous systems and safety mechanisms. Oracle president Charles Phillips is leading the fight back, through identifying and closing the loopholes in software that allow this kind of scam to take place. But on a personal level, what should you be doing to reduce your chances of falling victim?

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One of the most common techniques used by scammers is phishing. Phishing is the process of trying to trick victims into sharing personal information with an apparently trusted source. This is achieved through email, through the web and also by phone. Scammers initiate a communication, asking you to log in or submit sensitive details as part of some compulsory request from your bank, employer or local authority. When the victim submits the requested information, it is effectively stolen by the scammers, who can use it for their own financial gain.

Phishing communications are not always obvious, but you should always investigate anything you are unsure about. It is even possible for scammers to "spoof" the sender identity of emails, SMS messages and other communications, helping create the impression of credibility. This makes it even more important to be careful with your sensitive data, and only to share in exceptional circumstances where you are certain of the identity of the other party.

On a more technical note, click jacking is a technique used to divert your attention to a rogue website online. Through clicking on a seemingly legitimate link to one destination, visitors are secretly redirected elsewhere. This allows their information to be harvested by criminals, for resale or direct scamming purposes. This one is perhaps more difficult to identify and avoid, but you should take care nevertheless to avoid running into problems.

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Unfortunately, there is no certain way to prevent yourself from becoming a target. The Internet is a big place, and there are plenty of scammers with the technical aptitude and know-how to rip you off. But there are ways in which the risks can be reduced, and your chances of becoming a victim can be kept to a minimum.

The best advice is to protect the information you share online, and the websites you visit in the process. Keep your information private where possible, and use secure, unique passwords that you change regularly. Every login should use a different password for better protection, and you should never share password information with anyone else. You can never be too secure with your data, particularly online, so it makes sense to watch how you proceed to prevent being the next one on the scammers' list.

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