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3 tips to protect yourself from Social Engineering
One of the most common ways of being hacked or becoming a victim of identity fraud is social engineering. Social Engineering is a non-technical way of circumventing security systems that relies on human interaction. One way this is done is by tricking a customer service rep into providing more information than they should or convincing them to reset a password. Here are several tips to help protect yourself:
1) Whenever possible, never have websites save your credit card information. The last 4 digits of your credit card is often used as a security measure to verify your identity. Unfortunately, this is a terrible security practice and this information is easy to obtain from a variety of places. If you subscribe to services that save your credit card information, try to use a different credit card for each service. This will help minimize the attack surface if someone has obtained your credit card information. It may also be prudent to contact all of the businesses that save your credit card information and ask them if they use the last 4 digits of your credit card to verify your identity. Have them note on your account to never ask this question and to call your contact number to verify any changes being done to your account.
2) Enable 2 factor authentication on all sites that support it. While this security measure isn’t fool proof, it will help deter hackers from accessing your accounts. If you have a Google voice account, please do not use that number as part of your 2 factor authentication as it makes doing 2 factor authentication somewhat useless if they compromised your Google account. Your 2 factor authentication should always be your mobile phone, an app such as Google Authenticator, or a hardware device such as a Yubikey.
3) Change all security questions to false answers. Quite often when creating accounts you are asked things like “What was your first car?” or “What is your mother’s maiden name?” Never answer these questions truthfully since that type of information can be social engineered. For example, an attacker can figure out your first car just by looking at your Facebook or Instagram pictures.