Criminals have now mastered the “art” of committing crimes online with the use of computers, other online devices and complicated cyber networks. Private individuals, small businesses and large corporations are all affected.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has a special unit that deals with cyber-crime. Learn about this unit here.
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information normally to commit theft or complete some other type of other fraudulent activity. To minimize the risk of identity theft:
- Always use security features on your computer and on your mobile phones. This includes installing firewalls, antiviruses and strong complex passwords
- Keep your personal information stored in a secure location
- Review your bank statements and credit card statements regularly and compare with the transactions that you would have made. If there are any discrepancies contact your financial institution immediately and change your login details
- Be careful about what information you share on social media platforms and the sites into which you input your passwords and other sensitive information
- Turn on account alerts. In this way you will be notified when a transaction takes place on your account
Phishing is an attempt to get you to provide your personal information normally through some type of communication like an email or a text message. The online perpetrator usually pretends to be a reputable institution or an acquaintance and encourages you to click a link that ultimately takes you to a phishing website that can potentially access your information.
To minimize the risk of being a victim of phishing:
- Carefully examine first time emails received from unknown persons before responding. If it seems to be from someone you know but you still believe it to be suspicious call the person for confirmation prior to responding
- Be suspicious of emails with general greetings that seem out of sync with the person or organization
- Emails from reputable organizations will normally forward emails from addresses with their domain names. If such an email comes from a different domain this can be an attempt at phishing
- Always check your privacy settings to ensure these are set to the highest levels
- If for some reason you clicked on a link and become unsure immediately run a full scan of your system with your antivirus software and follow any instructions provided. Then change your passwords for any accounts you believe may have been affected.