10 things you should do to avoid data privacy violations
Updated on Jun 20, 2022
Finally, you’ve found that phone you always wanted. It looks tempting, but you haven’t heard of the website before. All you need to do is punch in your credit card number, and put in the three-digit code. What’s the worst that could happen? Actually, a lot can happen if your data is compromised. There are some very useful ways to protect your online privacy. Here are ten most effective measures you can take to prevent violation of your data privacy.
Avoid online banking in non-private spaces
Do not access online banking in public places like airports, coffee shops and shopping malls. Most public wifi networks are not trustworthy and can be easily manipulated. So avoid accessing your bank account in such places. There are some things you do only at home. Add online banking to that list.
Use multifactor authentication
What is multifactor authentication? Simply put, it is a form of authentication that requires more than one way to prove your identity while logging on to a secure website or app. In addition to providing your ID and password, you need another method or “factor” to log in. In most cases, there is a secure third party app which provides the additional authentication. Most banks, social media networks and email services allow the use of multifactor authentication. Enabling this would ensure an additional layer of security on your personal information.
Use a password manager
You access dozens of password-protected accounts on a regular basis, which includes social media, banks, ecommerce websites and a host of other platforms. Password managers are encrypted tools that store your passwords in a secure manner, and lets you retrieve them when you need them. They can usually store a large number of passwords, so you don’t have to commit them to memory, or keep them simple enough to remember. Password managers also have browser extensions, which help you to fill in the password field on a website you signed up on. Some of these apps are equipped with military-grade encryption, making it virtually impossible for anyone
One-time passwords (OTPs) are an additional layer of security, using your phone as a gatekeeper to access your bank account or other secure information. OTPs are like the keys to your safe. Protect them with your life. Never divulge them to anyone, and especially not to those who introduce themselves as bank employees on the phone. OTPs are meant for your eyes only. They are meant to authenticate transactions, login etc., and can create havoc in the wrong hands. Protect them at all costs.
Avoid sharing financial information on social media
This one’s a no-brainer, and yet it’s shocking how many people end up sharing their financial details on social media, showing off the new card they got, or the cheque they used to buy something special. This exposes your financial data to hackers and unscrupulous individuals. Details like your card number, CVV number, OTP, account details, PAN number, etc are especially susceptible. This information can potentially be used against you. Also keep track of your kids’ social media usage, to ensure that they don’t expose such sensitive information online.
Beware of phishing attacks
No, that’s not “fishing” spelled wrongly. Phishing is a method used by scamsters to steal your data. It is often in the form of an email or private message on social media, designed to trick you into sharing your personal information. You get an email from Africa, declaring you as the “lucky winner” of 3.2 million dollars. The email ends with a request to share your account details so that the amount can be transferred to you. Or a fake email from your favourite online store saying you have ordered something you haven’t. Later you get a call saying you must give them your credit card number just to cancel the call. These are all potential phishing attacks, and you should be wary of them. Learn to distinguish between a genuine message and a fake one. Note spelling errors, fake-sounding email addresses, and formatting issues. Lastly, do not give your financial data to people you don’t know. Period.
Check your statements and credit card reports meticulously
Every bank and credit card company sends statements and reports on a regular basis. But most users just look at the outstanding amount and ignore the rest of it. It is extremely important to study it carefully and go through all the transactions. Check the report meticulously, transaction by transaction, amount by amount. Watch out for any abnormal or unrecognisable transactions. If you come across any suspicious activity, make sure that you report it immediately and block the card.
Don’t click on suspicious links
Avoid entering your account information on websites you do not recognise. Ignore any pop-ups or ads that promise you freebies in exchange for a sign-up or personal information. Be careful about random links you come across on social media. Only click on trusted links. Clicking on malicious links can introduce malware into your device, or lead you to fake websites where hackers can try to obtain sensitive information from you.
Destroy old cards and shred documents you don’t need
Even old cards, statements and documents can be used to steal your data. Once you have closed an account, destroy the card. Once the credit card has expired, destroy and discard it. The same applies to old bank statements, credit card reports and bills. If you don’t have use for it, ensure that it is destroyed and nobody can have access to them in any way.
Protect your phone
Nowadays a phone is an extension of the person carrying it. All your information is on it, all OTPs and secret codes are sent on it. So it is extremely important that your phone be protected from misuse or theft. Use Face ID or a suitable unlock code so that nobody other than you can operate it. Use encryption or a password on the notes app where you write down all your sensitive information. Alternatively, use an encrypted third-party notes app for the purpose.