It probably hasn’t escaped your attention as of late that online identity theft is on the rise. One of the latest major security breaches having affected British Airways – one of the biggest companies of its kind in the world. All of which prompts an important yet troubling question:
If hackers can breach the security systems of even the biggest businesses, is anyone really safe online?
This is a question that should be asked by any responsible online gambler on a regular basis. Those who take part in online gambling activities of any kind being required to share all manner of personal and sensitive information.
According to a recent study, somewhere in the region of 110 million pieces of stolen information have already been traded illegally this year. For the most part, it’s the companies we do business with that are charged with the responsibility of keeping us safe. Nevertheless, all the efforts to protect us in the world are worth nothing, if we don’t take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
Your Responsibility to Yourself
As is the case with most things, far too many people throw caution to the wind – until things go horribly wrong. Out of nowhere, they find themselves dealing with some form of identity or personal data theft, which depending on the nature and severity can have catastrophic consequences.
The simple fact of the matter is that nobody is going to look after your interests, if you don’t take the initiative and do so yourself. The good news being that it doesn’t have to be particularly difficult to watch over things from your side. It’s simply a case of accepting that ignorance isn’t bliss, instead taking a proactive approach to your online security.
So for anyone who enjoys online gambling and would also prefer to stay safe, here’s a quick look at a handful of important tips for avoiding identity theft:
- Choose your casinos carefully
First and foremost, it’s imperative that you only ever work with a casino provider you know you can trust. Far too many lower-grade casinos on the web right now do little to nothing to safeguard their customers and their private data. By contrast, those at the very top of the industry go to extremes to ensure their customers are taken care of. Once again, it’s up to you to do your homework and establish if and to what extent any given casino can be trusted to get the job done. Don’t forget that you’ll be sharing everything from your name to your address to your bank account number – are you sure you can entrust them with this kind of information?
- Never send financial data by e-mail
As is the case with responsible banks and building societies, no responsible casino should ever ask you to divulge your financial information by e-mail. Or for that matter, confirm any of your login credentials or passwords. The simple fact of the matter is that even now, e-mail communications are shockingly easy to hijack with very little expertise required. The casino you choose should have a secure system that handles all submission and processing of private and financial information – any requests to submit such information by e-mail should be refused.
- Treat every telephone call with suspicion
Likewise, it’s almost unheard of for any reputable service provider to request login details, passwords, bank account numbers and so on by telephone. In all instances, any incoming phone call that includes a request for any of your personal information should be treated with suspicion. Even if it sounds legit, it’s a still a good idea to refuse their request, take the time to contact the company through a secure channel and establish whether or not the call was in fact authentic. Always remember that fraudsters carrying out their attacks by way of telephone these days can be astonishingly convincing.
- Keep an eye on your statements
In some instances, fraudsters go undetected by stealing very small amounts of money from hundreds or even thousands of accounts. As the respective account owners don’t go through their statements regularly in any kind of detail, these kinds of attacks often go unnoticed. Hence, it’s important to go through your bank statements and credit card statements on a regular basis, in order to determine if anything is out of the ordinary. Always remember that even if they’ve only taken a tiny amount from you this time, the fact that they’ve gained access to your account means they could wipe you out at the snap of the finger.
- Use different passwords and change them regularly
Under no circumstances should any two of your online passwords be identical, or even similar. Whatever it takes, you need to ensure that you are not giving fraudsters an unnecessarily easy ride. Ensure that all your passwords are different, difficult to guess and changed on a regular basis. It takes just a couple of minutes to change or passwords, which is exactly how long it will take to clean out your bank account if a hacker gains access to it.
- Report anything out of the ordinary
Should you come across anything that seems even slightly suspicious, it’s important to report it immediately to the relevant authority. If something doesn’t seem right with any given online casino, contact its customer support team and seek their advice accordingly. Or if things appear somewhat more serious, you can take the matter straight to the police. One of the reasons online fraud has grown to such an epidemic level these days is the fact that most people see it as someone else’s responsibility to report it.
- Stay social-media savvy
Last but not least, try to remember that today’s fraudster needs only a tiny amount of your personal information to wreak havoc with your finances and your life in general. Unsurprisingly therefore, social media makes for rich pickings for those looking to steal the identities of others. Be extremely careful when it comes to sharing your personal information on social media, ensuring you never share anything you don’t strictly have to. Keep your private information private, rather than sharing it with the world and putting yourself in harm’s way.