Avoiding Identity Theft

IDENTITY theft is the crime of obtaining a person’s personal or financial information with the sole purpose of assuming the person’s identity and carrying out financial transactions with the assumed identity. It is probably the fastest growing crime globally. Accounts are hacked and information like card details, bank account details, BVN, passwords, email addresses etc. are stolen. Online purchases are then made. In this post-COVID era, we cannot conveniently side step online shopping or having our financial information travel through cyberspace. But we can avoid being victims of cybercrime by keeping our electronic financial information and transactions safe.

Start with your device. Ensure your phone, tablet, laptop or PC has the latest version of anti-virus, spyware and malware protection. So that it will alert you if you visit a compromised webpage. Buy the best product and update it regularly. Scan your device frequently to ensure it remains secure because new spyware is being created daily.

Shop only at well known sites or the sites of vendors you can personally vouch for. You should not only vouch for their personal integrity but for their corporate governance standards that ensure they have installed the best up-to-date firewalls and protection on their websites to reduce the dangers of hacking, and that the information you input is encrypted end-to-end. They must publish this assurance visibly on their website. If this assurance is not available, you should explore other ways of payment – PayPal, Alipay, Amazon Pay, bank transfers, etc. These third parties who have invested in adequately secure payment infrastructure can collect the payment on behalf of the vendor. The vendor gets the money while you keep your information safe.

Obtain your mobile banking apps only from Google play store or Apple store. Avoid downloading apps from banks’ websites, and certainly not from third-party websites. Do not stay permanently logged in to mobile apps. Do not initiate auto-login nor allow your device to store your login details. Switch off Bluetooth when conducting financial transactions, in fact switch on Bluetooth only when needed. Keep your device itself locked when not in use, initiate auto-lock feature. Unlock it using both a PIN/ pattern and a biometric ID e.g. fingerprint. Banks too now have the biometric access option, so we can safely lock both the device and the app. Audit your bank statements regularly to fish out strange transactions.

Avoid inputting your payment card details in the presence of others, including members of your household. If you cannot guarantee continuous privacy every time you shop, you can input your card details into your Google account once. Every time you want to shop after that, Google would automatically furnish the information. It would fill in the card details but anyone looking at the device screen would see significant parts blocked out. We must treat our payment cards like we treat cash. Since we would not leave our cash lying around, we should not leave our ATM card lying around. We must not share our PIN with anyone. It is personal to your identity and should only be known by you. If you feel that your PIN has been compromised, change it immediately. Do not use an ATM with any gadget attached to it, it is probably a skimming device that copies the information of all cards inserted into the ATM. Always collect and destroy your ATM and POS receipts. Do not respond to suspicious emails, they may contain spyware that would steal financial information from your device.

Avoid using shared devices for financial transactions. If you must, clear the browsing history when you finish. Also never use free WI-FI or questionable ISPs, many are not encrypted. Instead, use the service provided by your Mobile Network Operator by using your phone as a mobile hotspot. If you must use a free WI-FI, ensure you have a good antivirus that can alert you on its insecurity.

If you suspect a breach of your data, report without delay to your financial services providers, so that your cards can be hot-listed. Cancel cards and replace. If a card has already been used, contact the vendor for help with recovery (e.g. delivery address of goods sold). Ask your bank for your recovery rights. You are not liable for transactions conducted after you report the breach to your bank. Close bank accounts if unauthorized online transactions have been conducted in them and open new ones. Use new alphanumeric passwords. Move your subscriptions and standing orders to your new account/ card. Exercise due diligence and caution in managing your information and transactions.

Electronic financial transactions are convenient and easy. Let us do our part to make them safe. Happy investing.




Nigeria’s Economy Shrank By 6.10% In Q2 2020 — NBS
NIGERIA’S Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real terms declined by -6.10 per cent (year-on-year) in Q2 2020, thereby ending the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. This is according to the second quarter (Q2) GDP report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday. When compared with Q2 2019, which recorded a growth of 2.12 per cent, the Q2 2020 growth…

Mailafia Sues Police, Shuns Invitation
FORMER deputy director, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, has taken the Nigeria Police before the  Plateau State High Court, asking the court to restrain the police from inviting him to appear before the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) Force Investigation Department, Police Headquarters, Abuja. After two consecutive invitations and interrogation by the Department of State Services (DSS) over his…


My Four Weeks Battle With COVID-19 —Segun Awolowo
While many people still express the belief that COVID-19 is just hype, the executive director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, while narrating his four weeks battle with the virus, has called on people to take the virus seriously, be conscious of the infection and follow laid down preventive measures, adding that fear is the real killer for infected people. Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare reports…


Mali Junta Wants 3-Year Military Rule, Agrees To Free President
THE junta that seized power in Mali wants a military-led transitional body to rule for three years and has agreed to release ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a source in a visiting West African delegation said Sunday. “The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a source in the…

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More