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It can happen to anyone; getting hacked. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, hackers and scammers are getting more sophisticated and crafty every day.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, hacking was responsible for more than 59-percent of the total data breaches in 2017. That’s a significant increase from 2012 when the number was 14%.
So, while it’s important to do everything you can to prevent getting hacked, it’s also just as vital to know what signs to look for to know when it has happened to you.
Unexplained Purchases and Transactions
The single biggest red flag that something is wrong with a bank or credit card account is when unknown purchases begin to show up on account statements. It usually means a scammer has either gotten hold of card details or online payment account information like Amazon or Paypal.
Make sure and check your account regularly to keep an eye out for purchases and transactions you didn’t make. Also, where possible, make sure your purchases are always set to be confirmed as emails or texts to help you catch this kind of hack more quickly.
Strange Small Charges
The moment a thief gets ahold of a stolen debit or credit card, they will make small charges that won’t trigger any red flags. Something like a charge of a few dollars at a convenience store. Once that works, the thief will start making larger charges quickly.
The best way to catch these problems is to sign up for alerts and notifications of all your charges via text or email. It may be annoying to get texts every time you make a purchase, but it can save you much larger frustrations in the long run.
Unfamiliar Company Names on Account Statements
When you make a payment on your credit or debit card, the name of the business’ parent company will show up on your account while the purchase processes.
If an unfamiliar company name appears on your statement, notify your credit card company or banking institution as soon as possible to stop the charge.
Your Online Passwords Don’t Work
This one is pretty obvious, but when your passwords suddenly don’t work, there’s a problem. First, check your email inbox for any evidence of a password change notification.
Luckily, this should be an easy fix. Most online accounts can be recovered. Contact the website and be prepared with information like the devices and computers you regularly use, and where in the world you’re located, to help them establish your identity.
A Lot of Pop-Up Ads
Ever clicked on a website and suddenly another page pops up warning you to run a security scan of your system (don’t) or that you’ve won a price (you haven’t), or to verify your account credentials (DO NOT)?
When they’re random and not part of the site you clicked on, be very, very wary.
Today’s browsers and operating systems do a very good job of policing pop-ups. That means that if you’re seeing malicious messages get through, there’s something pretty seriously wrong with your system. Of course, it could also be an issue on the site’s side. Either way, ads that actually belong on your computer or phone will be for genuine brands, and easy to close.
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