How to generate virtual online IDs to prevent spam, scams, and phishing attacks

There are so many cyber security vulnerabilities on the internet nowadays that entering your email address or phone number when signing up for a service is related to giving your full name on the first date. Recently a series of SIM exchange of hacks have occurred; attacks in which hackers take control of your account by stealing your phone number, claiming ownership through your cellular provider and using it to bypass text-based two-factor authentication.

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As such attacks occur more frequently, it is worth taking extra precautions when locking your personal contact information. Apple will start implementing a new authentication system for iOS users when it logs in to Apple later this fall. But until then (or if you are not an iPhone user), there are other methods that you can use.

To increase your security, you can use secure password verification programs such as Authy or USB security keys in your original Gmail account to prevent unauthorized access. It is also worth setting up extra PIN security on your telephone bill via your mobile provider to prevent imitators from making changes without your permission. And of course a good app for password management is a must.

And if you really want to hide your identity, you can use virtual contact information when you sign up for new services. By not offering services for your actual e-mail, telephone number or credit card details, you are at least one step away from potential cyber attacks if these services show a violation.

Here are some commonly used ways to generate virtual identifications for different applications on the internet.

Phone numbers

Many online services and apps offer the option to link your telephone number to your account, so that you can still board if your password is lost. Instead of entering the actual number, you can generate alternatives to free services such as Google Voice and FreedomPop.

With Google Voice you can do this with an iOS or Android app or on the internet. Personally I find it easier to do it on the internet, so I can quickly copy and paste the numbers to different services.

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This is how you start on the internet:

  • Go to voice.google.com and log in with your Gmail address (if you are not yet logged in).
  • Choose a number based on the digits available in the area code you want. Select the desired number.
  • You will then be asked to link it to your actual number through a text-based confirmation. (Note: you can only link one Google Voice number to each & # 39; real & # 39; phone number.)

Now you can use this number to register / link to any desired app. If you decide you no longer want this number or want to change it (such as a password), go to the Voice Settings page to change or delete the number if necessary.

E-mail

The use of different email addresses to sign up for new accounts or access to discount coupons, articles and other downloadable material is a good way to prevent spam emails, unwanted newsletters and email tracking used by apps and services to send you advertisements. They also add a layer to remove yourself from potential phishing emails.

If you really want to avoid all information from a website, you can use such a service Temp Mail, mail dropor Mailsac to create fake e-mail addresses. These temporary inbox services only contain e-mails for a short period (between 10 minutes and a week).

That is why you may not want to use them for a site where you are do you want to check which free promotions you have received in the past. For those sites you can create a separate disposable Gmail, Outlook or other e-mail address, specifically for online registrations.

And just like with phone numbers and passwords, you change your ID occasionally instead of using the same thing over and over again.

If you decide to use one of these temporary inbox services, go to the site and see a space where you can generate any e-mail ID you want. No registration is required, so you can create a temporary e-mail address that you can place on any site that you do not want to have permanent access to you. Again, depending on the service you use, the emails you receive through these temporary addresses are only stored for a short period of time, so they should not be considered as permanent alternative emails.


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Please note that a generic ID such as & # 39; testing @ & # 39; may have already been claimed by someone else, so you may be able to share the temporary inbox with another person. Try to choose a username that is more complicated and difficult to guess, to prevent someone else from seeing your purchases and activities. And if you use these services to sign up for something for which you do not want permanent access (for example, a service trial), you must ensure that you delete the e-mail when you are ready so that no one has access to potential ID & # 39 ; s such as account usernames or links to confirm password changes.


Credit cards

Most mobile / e-wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung PayPayPal, Visa Checkout, Mastercard Masterpass and bank-specific apps offer encrypted payment methods to prevent your credit card information from being directly shared with a third party. However, that does not mean that they are also fail-proof, because mobile wallets can be hacked if your phone is not properly protected.

Before setting up your mobile wallet, first create a secure WiFi network (your house is probably the best bet). If you need to do this while you are not at home, use a VPN for a layer of protection. After you have added your credit card numbers to your mobile wallet of your choice, follow the general protocols for smartphone protection: set a secure home screen that can only be verified by your biometric data, pin code or pattern-based lock (or a combination of the three).


Image: Capital city

In cases where mobile payment apps are not accepted, you can generate a random credit card number to use as a one-time payment solution. Currently only three American banks offer this service: bank of america, Citi, and Capital letter one. Keep in mind that banks can limit the number of virtual credit cards that you can generate at any time, or set a spending minimum or maximum per card number, so it may not be the best solution for every purchase.

Please note that you should not use this type of service for items that you may be able to return, as these card numbers may expire. They are also not recommended for reservations where you must show the credit card used to make the purchase to verify the booking (such as car rental, hotels, flights, etc.).

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Following these additional steps may provide additional protection against online hackers, but always remember to apply strong password habits on top of these methods to provide multiple layers of security and keep your data safe.

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