Reviews | The protection of personal data is essential in the fight against fraud

Hayley Allen

Every year on January 28, the world commemorates Data Privacy Day, an initiative of the US-based National Cyber ​​Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit organization promoting cybersecurity, education confidentiality and awareness. In support of this day, it is essential to remind customers to protect their personal data.

Personal data is any information used to identify individuals, such as a banking personal identification number (PIN). As a result, this critical information could fall into the wrong hands of crooks who can use it for their benefit by stealing from individuals. Here are important ways to protect personal data:

Fraudulent requests:

Customers should never respond to an email, instant message or phone call asking for their bank details, such as their PIN. They should delete the message and call their financial institution directly to report the problem. By law, the four-digit number, the PIN, is not shared with anyone, not even a bank official, family members, friends or microlenders.

Passwords: Use strong passwords that do not contain name or date of birth. Instead, use different numbers, words and letters mixed in lower and upper case, with strong firewall, up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware protection.

Dispose and store information carefully: Shred personal and financial documents before throwing them in the trash. Also keep documents such as payslips, tax returns and copies of IDs in a safe place.

Don’t share too much on social media: Posting too many intimate details online is risky, as fraudsters can harvest personal data from posts. Customers should check their privacy settings to know who sees their posts and be careful when posting location, hometown, birthday or other personal information.

Use free Wi-Fi with caution: Most free public Wi-Fi networks have minimal security measures, meaning others using the same network could easily access customer activity and remove data personal. Customers are always advised to use a secure and password protected network.

Links and attachments:

Cybercriminals often write phishing scams to look like legitimate communications from a bank or other corporate entities. Misspellings or an email address different from the typical sender may indicate that the email is spam and should be deleted. Customers should not click on links or download email attachments.

Personal data protection makes it difficult for fraudsters to steal from customers. Being proactive and vigilant remains one of the best defenses against fraud.

* Hayley Allen is Head of Corporate Affairs at Bank Windhoek.

2022-01-27 Staff reporter

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