Many complex techniques exist that could allow a hacker to steal personal information while an individual is online. Some of these methods can be detected quickly. Others are more sophisticated and harder to notice. Internet users can look for a few signs that indicate an online transaction or browsing session is safe from identity theft.
4. Security Notifications
One of the clear ways to tell if an online transaction is safe from identity theft is a security notification. This is a feature of nearly all web browsers. A security notification could be a small icon that suddenly appears or a change in the color of the address bar. The notification informs users that the website is currently using a recognized security protocol to encrypt the information transferred. This makes it difficult or impossible for a third party to extract personal data. Websites that do not use encryption when transmitting personal data need to be avoided.
3. Web Addresses Match
Spoofing is a criminal activity where a person creates a legitimate looking website that is intended to fool visitors into thinking that it is actually a larger trusted site. The websites then collect personal information and credit card numbers that are used for identity theft. One way to detect a spoofing scam is to look at the website address in the web browser. Many spoofing sites use addresses that look legitimate but that actually have subtle misspellings or endings that indicate other country codes. Websites that do not have addresses that exactly match the names of the business should be avoided.
2. No Unknown Programs Are Running
Unknown programs should not be running on a computer when browsing online. Programs that have a legitimate purpose such as calling international long distance numbers will not interfere with online browsing. Malicious applications known as malware, however, could take control of a computer or a connection. These programs can record personal information or locate files on a hard drive and then transmit the data to a malicious hacker in another part of the world. Using anti-virus software regularly will detect many of these programs. It can also help to check what is running through the task or process manager.
1. No Strange Behaviors While Browsing
An online session that includes no suspicious or strange browser behaviors is an indicator that there is no current attempt at identity theft. Different techniques are available to hackers that will affect Internet access or a web browser. Browser helper objects, plug-ins and even malicious libraries can all change the core functions of a browser. Strange actions such as unexpected redirects to irrelevant websites mean that a person might be attempting identity theft. Anyone who experiences strange behaviors from a browser should immediately stop and use anti-virus software to clean the system.