Identity theft is no joke.
The rapid transition of personal information to a largely online space has given individuals looking to steal that valuable information more avenues than ever to access it.
Some personal accountability is important, but first you need the proper knowledge. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three potential ways hackers can steal your information, and what you can do to protect your information.
1. Using Your Recurring Subscriptions Against You
As a recent Forbes article documented, particularly committed hackers can use subscription-based services against you.
It involves using a publicly available announcement about a new subscription to essentially trick your financial institution into revealing small pieces of your account information.
Many banks and credit unions have an identity confirmation process: if someone forgets their account number or social security number they can answer a few questions often including things like confirming previous charges or account balances, confirming name, address, or phone numbers.
While these security measures are good, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their imperfections — they can be gamed if the measures aren’t strong enough.
Your address, name, phone number, and date of birth are typically publicly available information. If someone figures out your most recent charge is a recurring subscription charge (if you post it publicly on social media) and digs around for other public details about you, there’s a chance you have accidentally given up sensitive financial information.
An example of this is simply tweeting something that seems totally innocuous like, “Just got a new Netflix account.”
The moral of the story? Don’t put any information about your purchase history on social media.
2. Stealing Information From Public WiFi Networks
We’ve talked about this one before, and it only becomes more relevant as more and more public places start to offer free Wi-Fi.
Typically, free Wi-Fi will have significantly less security than private Wi-Fi does. Something designed to be free and accessible to the public is not going to be password protected.
While public Wi-Fi has gotten safer in recent years, it is still not safe enough that you should be entering information into it that you wouldn’t want a stranger to be able to access.
Typically, when you log onto free Wi-Fi there will be a disclaimer warning that sensitive information like bank logins and private passwords should not be entered while using it; heed that warning.
3. A Financial Institution Has Their Information Stolen
This one has nothing to do with your own personal behavior, but can instead be tied to security gaps with a particular institutions financial protections.
It is relatively rare, however in recent years there have been several high-profile instances of financial information being stolen. Most notably, the Equifax breach in 2017 and the Capital One data breach only a few months ago.
These sorts of breaches can be serious with the intent usually being either identity fraud or the selling of sensitive financial information on the black market.
Whatever the intent, it’s important that when you trust your money with any institution it should be with an organization you find trustworthy.
At HRCCU, we’ve made it a point to put security measures into place that keep your money where it should be: securely in your account.
Hackers will always be looking for new ways to steal identities and information, which is why we’re always staying plugged into the newest scams and making tweaks to our security — ensuring our processes and policies and are up-to-date and that your money is safely yours.
Want to learn more about how HRCCU protects your money? Read our blog post 4 Ways Credit Unions Protect you and Your Finances.