Take these 5 steps today to help prevent a cybercriminal account takeover

(BPT) - Today's cybercriminals are unrelenting and have greatly taken advantage of consumers and businesses throughout the pandemic. As of 2022, almost 90% of consumers have been victims of credit card fraud, identity theft or a data breach, and 47% of companies have experienced customer fraud, cybercrime, asset misappropriation and many other types of fraud over the last two years.

These figures may sound daunting, but consumers can take several steps to keep their personal information and data safe from would-be attackers while shopping online.

Account takeover 101

One of the most common types of online fraud consumers face is called account takeover (ATO). ATO means a hacker gains access and control over a user's account. Financial, social and email accounts, as well as mobile phones, are all susceptible to ATO activity. Some of the most common ATO examples are:

  • Bank account information is stolen and, once accessed, money is transferred to the fraudster's account.
  • Social media account logins are hijacked and requests for money are made to the victim's friends and family.
  • Phishing scams via email request private information that then enables fraudsters' access to personal accounts.
  • A scammer convinces a carrier to swap a victim's number to a new SIM card and SMS one-time passcodes are intercepted and used to access an account.

Examples of companies keeping consumers safe

FinTech and mobile payment companies frequently fall into the at-risk category for fraudulent activity, so they need to implement advanced technology that protects consumers. Many FinTech companies work with global digital identity leader, TeleSign, to help safeguard purchases and protect consumers from identity theft. If a consumer's name, address, or Social Security number are stolen, TeleSign helps to catch the fraudulent activity so consumers can block the potential negative impact to their credit score and safeguard their accounts.

5 tips to prevent account takeover

TeleSign's CEO, Joe Burton, shares five ATO prevention tips you can adopt today:

  1. If given the option, consumers should choose multi-factor authentication. This may include additional verification specific to the individual, such as address, PIN number or biometric validations like fingerprints and face ID.
  2. Set a limit on login attempts. Businesses and sometimes consumers can set login attempt maximums based on username, device or IP address.
  3. Consumers should always use complex passwords that are more difficult for a person or machine to guess. Businesses should require complex passwords on account signup and limit access to sensitive consumer data in their systems.
  4. Set up alerts for when account changes are made. This may include email, text or phone alerts to consumers so they can quickly notice if their account has changed without their permission and take action.
  5. Do your homework. Only create accounts and share private data with reputable companies that take a proactive approach to protecting your data.

Cybercriminals get savvier every day, so it's important to protect yourself now. These simple steps can help keep you safe, whether you're a consumer or business owner.

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