(BPT) - Protecting your digital identity is more important than ever before. According to the Telesign Trust Index, 30% of consumers surveyed reported they were victims of fraud in the past three years. Given the recent spike in online activity, with e-commerce spending surging by $200 billion in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to McKinsey & Company that number will climb as new forms of digital fraud emerge. And that fraud can have long-lasting effects on your pocketbook. Of consumers who were fraud victims, 61% reported financial losses.
You're not alone if you haven't considered protecting your digital identity. According to the report, consumers perceive fraud as an immediate threat, but 45% don't actively protect themselves against cybercrime.
You can generally remedy your situation if your identity has been compromised. Still, it's better to protect your identity now and prevent future damage. In honor of International Fraud Awareness Week, Telesign offers five expert tips that can help you protect your digital identity.
1. Set up two-factor authentication on all accounts
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a more effective security measure than simply updating passwords. It adds an extra layer of security that can be the difference between being exploited or staying secure.
Whether it's a one-time code sent to your mobile device, a fingerprint scan or a biometric verification, these secondary authentication methods are powerful tools in your digital identity protection arsenal. If your online service providers offer two-factor authentication, turn it on. If they don't provide it, demand the service.
2. Protect your personal details
Don't share your personal or financial information with unfamiliar sources. Even information you think is innocuous can be used to steal your identity or access critical accounts. This is especially important to remember during the holidays. According to AARP, three-quarters of Americans have experienced or been targeted for scams tied to the holidays.
Stay vigilant and take extra care in how you share your personal details when answering calls from unknown phone numbers, responding to strange emails, entering data on website forms, and even what you share on social media.
3. Monitor your bank accounts and credit scores
Be proactive in defending your digital identity by regularly monitoring your financial accounts and credit scores. Turn on notifications and keep an eye on your statements to spot any suspicious activity. You can easily set up account alerts with your bank and credit bureaus to receive notifications about unusual transactions or changes to your credit report. The quicker you act, the less damage scammers can cause to your accounts.
4. Report fraud
If you suspect or have confirmed that your digital identity has been compromised, don't wait. Report fraud attempts and suspicious activity as soon as possible. For example, contact your bank and credit card company to report any unauthorized transactions and potential identity theft. Also, don't forget to report fraud to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your report could help prevent others from being similarly scammed.
5. Look for trustworthy signals
Don't assume every email you open, document you download or website you visit is trustworthy. For example, if you receive an offer that's too good to be true, check that the company or person it claims to be uses the actual sender address. There are even clone websites that look legitimate but have the potential to damage your digital identity. Check the website URL before entering important information, such as credit card numbers.
Another way to keep yourself safe is to look for trust signals like a TLS/SSL certificate or the Telesign Trust Certified Badge. These trustworthy signs can show that a company has been verified as a safe and secure digital environment defender. Telesign's suite of Continuous Trust™ solutions prevents the transmission of more than 30 million fraudulent messages each month and over 1 million account takeovers every year.
Prevention is more effective - and less stressful - than dealing with the aftermath of a digital identity breach. Prioritize your digital identity security to keep your personal information and financial well-being safe in our digital age. To read the Telesign Trust Index report and learn more about online fraud, visit Telesign.com.