The year is 2020, but as we have seen time and again, fraud continues to be at an all-time high. As cybersecurity evolves, fraudsters stay one step ahead with more elaborate schemes such as IRSF fraud or SIM Swap, in addition to standard account takeover. TeleSign uses mobile identity to help companies protect all of their users, but there are a few things that consumers can do to protect themselves as well. Jack Dorsey, one of America’s top tech entrepreneurs recently fell victim to a SIM Swap attack. If it can happen to him, it can happen to you. Follow these five tips to drastically reduce the chance of being hacked, breached or otherwise scammed by a misanthropic person on the internet.
Turn on 2FA
As the pioneer in phone-based verification, TeleSign has always been very high on 2FA. You may have read on this site before that simply enabling 2FA stops 100% of automated bot attacks and 99.9% of bulk phishing attacks. Enabling an extra layer of security improves your security hygiene exponentially. Nearly every web application now allows for multi-factor authentication and it could be the difference between your bank draining to zero and an angry fraudster failing to infiltrate your account.
Only interact with callers you trust
TeleSign recently deployed a mobile identity solution for an enterprise customer that can prevent robo calls from ever reaching a consumer. However, if you do find yourself being pestered by a robo caller or telephone fraud scams, never engage. Do not give any personal information away over the phone and use common sense. For example, the IRS is not going to ask you to wire money over the phone. Furthermore, if you see a country code calling you that you do not recognize, do not call back. This is a type of fraud called “one ring” where a fraudster will call you from a country with a high termination fee somewhere in the South Pacific and then collect all the long-distance fees when you return the call.
One of TeleSign’s biggest pushes in 2020 is to help platforms stop SIM Swap fraud. But how can you help protect yourself as a consumer? Be mindful of what information you make publicly available on social channels. The way social engineering works is that a fraudster acquires some sort of real information about you and uses it to trick a customer service rep that the phone porting request is indeed legitimate. Also, most carriers will have a four-digit pin associated with your account, always make sure to use this option and if your carrier offers, make a note on your account banning over-the-phone porting requests.
Watch out for ‘Phishing’
TeleSign uses sophisticated mobile identity solutions to help companies deal with phishing on their platform, but for consumers in their personal lives, some of these phishing e-mails can be harder to parse than others. Of course the foreign prince offering you millions doesn’t exist. Fraudsters, however, have stepped up their game. When clicking a link, make sure it’s someone you trust. If one of your “colleagues” asks you for suspect information, reach out to them on another communication platform to ensure legitimacy. Finally, take an extra moment to inspect the actual address from which the correspondence originated. Was it really RealPerson@TeleSign.com or was it something like ‘telesing?’ An extra moment could be the difference between you successfully fighting fraud or you being the person responsible for your company’s most recent breach.
Use safe passwords
It may seem like a nuisance remembering dozens of passwords, especially after we have been told for years that we were moving toward a post-password internet. Alas, the password is still here, so it is best to pick one that is safe. Try combining words into a passphrase. A password such as eyel0vetheTeleS!gnBlog is much less susceptible to a brute force attack than any random word followed by a bunch of numbers. Furthermore, try to use a password manager. Lastly, never keep your passwords written down in a physical space.
TeleSign will keep innovating to protect you via the large internet eco-systems you spend your time on, but following these steps will ensure your safety. The internet is a valuable tool for all of us, but it can be dangerous if you don’t use your head. Stay safe out there.
TeleSign has been connecting and protecting online experiences for over 15 years. We support 21 of the 25 largest web properties in the world and we’re prepared to help you. Contact TeleSign now and learn more about how to keep your platform safe and your users real.