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Protecting Online Accounts from Account Takeover Fraud, 5 Essential Tips

How to prevent ATO & mitigate fraud, guide to Account Takeover fraud prevention and detection.

With credentials exposed in 3rd party breaches now commonplace, account takeover (ATO) fraud is a real threat to consumers and businesses. While there is no guaranteed way to stop it, best practices can help reduce the risk.

Password hygiene, updating software, and multifactor authentication are excellent starting points. Read on to learn more:

Use Strong Passwords Prevent Account Takeover Fraud

Regarding your personal information, passwords are the first line of defense. Yet, most people have weak passwords, which hackers can easily crack. A breach of an insignificant account, like a social media or online shopping account, can give hackers access to more critical accounts such as bank accounts or credit cards.

Weak passwords can be guessed by using tools that look for patterns in words such as names, places, or sports teams. They can also be found in dictionaries and through leaked credentials or “credential stuffing” (when hackers try to guess passwords for every account they can access).

Creating a strong password is paramount to protect your online accounts from hackers. It is advised that you use a password of at least eight characters, a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, to protect the security of your account. It will make it harder for potential intruders to guess or crack your password and will help keep your personal information safe.

Ensure your password has no ties to your personal information, as hackers can easily guess passwords that contain personal information. It’s always a good idea to avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and to change your passwords regularly.

Managing passwords can be challenging, but keeping track of them becomes much easier and more secure with a password manager. Additionally, it’s crucial to regularly update your software to ensure that your system and data are protected from potential vulnerabilities.

Keep Your Software Updated

Cybercriminals use account takeover attacks to access sensitive information, from email and social media accounts to banking and tax data. That makes it imperative for businesses to ensure that all employees, including IT and HR departments, know the risks associated with their responsibilities and understand how to spot suspicious activity.

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For e-commerce sites, it’s also important to compare new user credentials against a breached credentials database and notify users immediately when their details have been compromised. In addition, rate limits for login attempts and the blocking of proxies and VPNs can help to detect anomalous behavior and prevent account takeover.

One way to prevent fraud is by closely monitoring accounts for multiple small transactions made by unauthorized users on a merchant’s website. It can assist in identifying and stopping fraudulent conduct before it worsens. That can result in authorization fees and chargebacks that could harm the merchant’s relationship with significant payment processors.

Fraudsters can also change account preferences, rename usernames, and change passwords to thwart detection. Keeping software updated is essential for businesses to combat these kinds of attacks. It can help detect rogue activity, flag any unusual changes in account settings, and detect botnets.

Change Your Passwords Regularly

One of the most hazardous types of online fraud is account takeover. Criminals can obtain information, defraud loved ones, empty bank accounts, and even take identities using stolen usernames and passwords.

The good news is that account takeover prevention measures can help you protect your accounts. Start by routinely changing your passwords and refraining from using the same one across many websites. Monitoring your accounts for unexpected activity is also crucial. Keep an eye out for login attempts from strange devices, password reset requests you didn’t initiate, and other odd behavior.

There must be a standard for how often you should change your passwords. Some experts recommend changing them repeatedly, while others say this can make your account more vulnerable. It is because frequent changes can cause you to adopt lousy password habits, such as writing down your old passwords or making them super simple. Instead, concentrate on creating secure, one-of-a-kind passwords and turning on two-factor authentication for all your accounts, particularly those you don’t use very often.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Account takeover attacks are the holy grail for cybercriminals, giving them full access to your private bank account and any sensitive information stored within it. By implementing a combination of security measures, including strong passwords, regular changes, updating software, and two-factor authentication, you can significantly decrease your risk of falling victim to this type of fraud.

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) requires a second verification form to log in, typically sent to the user via text message or email. The account holder can enter a passcode that a hacker cannot see. Hackers cannot obtain the victim’s 2FA code if they already know their password, but it also aids in phishing attack defense.

This security measure should be enabled on every account you have, and you can even make it adaptive according to your level of risk, allowing it to only ask for additional verification when the account has been accessed from a new device or a different location. It will help prevent account takeover attacks by preventing the attacker from using your credentials to gain access to other accounts and information on your devices.

Never Share Sensitive Information

Keeping personal information private is the only way to protect yourself and your accounts from unscrupulous individuals. Account takeover fraud—in which bad actors use stolen credentials to hijack actual credit cards, shopping, or government benefit accounts—has become a significant problem for millions of consumers. It can drain bank accounts, ruin reputations, and cost businesses and institutions large sums of money.

Taking over online accounts is the most common way criminals commit identity theft. They can access personal information and financial details, make fraudulent purchases, and scam friends and family. Victims are often unaware their accounts have been compromised until they notice unrecognized charges or suspicious behavior.

Fraudsters are constantly innovating and developing new ways to attack and steal information. They can access accounts by stealing login credentials, harvesting data through keyloggers, or installing malware on users’ devices. They can also use bots to supercharge card testing schemes, executing thousands of low-value transactions before the victim realizes their credit or debit card is being used, resulting in massive chargebacks threatening merchants’ relationships with major processors.

tips protecting online accounts from account takeover fraud
Protecting Online Accounts from Account Takeover Fraud

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