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Avoiding Scams- Personal Data You Should Keep to Yourself

Nobody thinks that they will get scammed. If anything, some believe that only gullible people can be conned, but that’s no longer the case today. Fraudsters are getting increasingly more creative these days, making it super challenging to distinguish which connections are legitimate and which one is fake. One thing for sure, to keep yourself protected, there is some personal information that you should never share with others. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bank and card details 💳

If you want to make an online transaction using your debit or credit card, usually, you’ll have to key in your card number, the expiration date, and the security code (CVV). Without the PIN, it would be difficult to access your bank accounts, but scammers can still use YOUR hard-earned money to buy things online. 

We know how important it is to keep this information safely. However, when we’re put in a stressful situation that requires us to make an urgent decision, sometimes we tend to forget that we’re not supposed to share this info. Phishing callers love taking advantage of this. 

Phishing 🎣 – the use of fraudulent phone calls typically pretending to be authorities to trick people into giving money or revealing their personal information.

FYI, banks should already have your card details, so they would never call you to ask for them. Should you receive a call asking for such information, bid them a sayonara and block the number 🚫. That’s a scam.

Addresses 🏡

Regardless of whether it’s your home address, office address, or your baby boo’s address, there is absolutely no reason to share where you live or where you work unless they’re Grabfood 🛵. 

Why? Because scammers can use your address to send you unsolicited letters like fake lottery wins or pose like the government or banks to get money from you. You may not fall for these scams, but at least pity the trees that are cut for this evil purpose. 

OTP (One-Time PIN) 🔐

The OTP is a series of numbers given to a user’s phone number or email address. It’s required to authenticate access or a transaction. If a scammer has your OTP, they can make transactions using your account. An OTP is only valid for a few minutes and can be used only once, as the name suggests. The best way to protect your OTP is by keeping them a secret. Treat them like your pre-pubescent photos – hidden from anyone. 

You should also refrain from clicking dodgy links you receive via your text messages because the links could contain malware to gain access to your OTP. 

Email address 📩

An email address may not seem as important as a password or the OTP, but there are a few harmful things that fraudsters can do to you when they get a hold of your email. They can try to hack your other online accounts that use the email, use it to crack email-based two-factor authentication or steal your identity. 

That’s not all. If you think that phishing is terrible, wait till you hear about ‘whaling’ 🐋. Whaling is a cyber attack that targets senior executives and above by pretending to be a legitimate email. It aims to catch ‘the bigger fishes’ as those with more seniority are assumed to have more access to the company’s info. Whaling emails are so personalised, urgent, and well-crafted, even C-level execs fall for this trick. 

Location 📍

Many do not regard location as sensitive data because geotagging our images on social media is now a norm🤳. However, revealing where you are could put yourself and the people around you at risk of being scammed. 

Take this email below as an example. The scammer knew that Lucy was in Italy and used this information to scam the grandmother into believing that she was in trouble. The only way to get out of this is by wiring ‘Lucy’ some money. The scammer must have had the information on Grandma’s email and know the relationship between the two, so Lucy’s location is just the cherry on top. 

Announcing where you are = telling people where you’re NOT. Criminals can use this information not just to scam you but literally rob you as they know you’re not home. 

If you want to share your location, one smart thing to do is to post it when you have already left the place. That way, your friends and followers can still know where you have been without you jeopardising your security. 

IC and passport numbers 🛂

We all know to not share our IC and passport numbers with others, but sometimes, we do so without realising it. For example, to join a programme, sometimes you must fill in your personal details like full name and IC digits first. However, if the programme is not legit, you are basically giving your details to scammers willingly. 

That’s why it’s crucial to know what your IC number is being used for. Ask if you are unsure, don’t just give it away. 

Protecting your data 

With scams and frauds being so prevalent nowadays, we need to take all the necessary precautions to ensure our data stays protected. Otherwise, they can be used against us. 

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