How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft in Stock Trading?

Stock trading involves transactions of millions of dollars every day. Even a slight lapse in online security of personal information and financial transactions may cost the stock traders heavily.

When your personal information such as your user ID and password is taken away without your knowledge and used to defraud you, it is called identity theft.

You must make yourself aware of the various identity theft tactics that are used by the identity thieves or hackers on the Internet. You must remain vigilant about such possibilities and protect your account by taking suitable measures. Some of the schemes used for stealing your identity are:

Phishing

Phishing is the process of sending apparently legitimate emails, pop-up messages or building phony websites to hoodwink the users into parting with their personal account access information. Phishers send these messages to collect data that includes name, account user IDs, passwords, address, date of birth, social security number and so on.

Then these thieves open false accounts in your name or access your existing accounts. Imagine being defrauded of your earnings from your online stock trading account soon after you have received money after selling a stock!

The stock ploy used in the email message is to create a sense of urgency under the threat of account closure if the personal information sought in the message is not made available to the sender.

The reason offered is that your account information needs to be verified or that your account has suffered a security breach. The email appears almost identical to the ones you usually receive from your stock broker, banker and so on. They carry the same logo, name and feel as the original mails.

How to protect yourself from phishing?

1. Use security software with anti-phishing features, which are offered by many companies. These software programs help you to identity the junk mails and filter them from the incoming mails.

2. Never reveal your personal information especially passwords and social security numbers through emails or pop-ups. This vital information should only be revealed through the legitimate formats in the websites of your stock brokerages.

3. Beware of call to action emails asking you to urgently provide your personal information under threats of account termination and so on.

4. Be careful when you type the website address of your stock broker. If you mis-spell the URL, you may possibly be taken to the fake website set up to phish your information.

5. Use spam detectors which most of your email account services provide free of cost.

6. Regularly update your Windows operating system and other security software to ensure the blockage of phishing threats.

7. Use the latest version of your internet browser which contains the current security features.

8. Never seek your account information through the emails or pop-ups.

If you ever suspect the genuineness of an email or message, contact your stock broker via a secure channel or call them on telephone.

Pharming

The advanced version of phishing is called pharming. Members are directed to a malicious website that is almost similar to your stock broker’s website in appearance and feel. Once there, you are asked to upgrade or update your account information or change your passwords.

How to protect yourself from pharming?

When you visit a website for a purchase or a financial transaction, ensure that the website contains the SSL protection. SSL or the Secure Socket Layer is a communication protocol which is used to protect your vital data transfers over the Internet.

Most stock brokerages use the industry leading 128-bit VeriSign SSL encryption technology on their sites to ensure that your personal data protected from eavesdropping, tampering, and forgery.

An authentic website contains a clickable VeriSign Certificate Icon located at the bottom of each page.

Trojan Horses

A Trojan horse is a software program that installs malicious code on your computer. Trojan horses usually remain inactive till you take an action such as clicking on a link or an email. As you hit the link, the code is activated and the hacker can capture your keystrokes and collect your user ID, password and other sensitive data. Trojan horses often come with free downloads such as screen savers or spyware.

How to protect yourself from Trojan horses?

o Use security software from reputed companies that block the Trojans and key loggers.

o Regularly update your security system, which is the best form of defense again the Trojans and spyware installers.

o Use the latest version of your Internet browser as it contains the latest security features.

o Be cautious while sharing peer-to-peer files. Trojans are often found in such file sharing programs waiting to be downloaded.