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Updated by 09.07.2023

5 Ways to Protect Your Identity Online

5 New Ways to Protect Your Identity

Credit card fraud and identity theft are two prevalent problems that are constantly growing in frequency. Online activity may be especially susceptible to these types of crimes.One reason for the increase in credit card fraud and identity theft that is associated with online activity is the fact that many different organizations choose to store personal information for users online. Hospitals, universities, merchants and even townships maintain online records that contain detailed personal information. This information is periodically breached, and identity thieves are able to access detailed personal information in order to open accounts and commit payment fraud.Credit card fraud may occur when a person is led to believe that they are giving their credit card information to a legitimate company when they are not. This can occur over the phone when a scam artist calls the individual claiming to be representing a bank or merchant, or it can occur online when a person receives an email that appears to be legitimate asking for the individual to enter payment information.Merchants across the United States lose billions of dollars in revenue each year due to fraudulent payment activity.Fortunately, there are ways to protect your identity from fraud.

• Amp Up

SecurityMerchants can be proactive about securing customer information online by modifying the features available from prepackaged payment security tools. Even a basic understanding of utilizing encryption and cryptographic hashes can significantly tighten security on an online merchant site.• Restrict Access to InformationAny information collected and stored online should be visible to a very limited number of people. Automated credit card payment processing may limit the amount of information that will need to be viewed. No merchants or employees of merchants need to personally view credit card information when payment is automated. Only shipping information will need to be reviewed.

• Gather Only Necessary Information

Every piece of information that is gathered by an online merchant is another piece of the puzzle that identity thieves use to complete fraudulent transactions and find possible targets. Information should be limited to only what the merchant needs to complete the transaction. For example, merchants do not require social security information and should not request this information.

• Proactive Customers

Customers can protect their identities by being proactive about where they enter their personal information. For example, merchant websites should always be accessed directly via a browser rather than a link contained in an email. Merchants should be utilizing security packages and obtaining security seals, but the customer also has a responsibility to verify this information prior to making a purchase.