How to Prevent Identity Theft Online
Most computer users have heard something negative about identity theft, but they may not be aware of just how serious of a thing it is. More than 15 million people fall victim to identity theft each year. These victims have their personal information stolen and used for some odd purposes. They are left to deal with financial struggles and strain. A majority of identity theft crimes occur online. Therefore, you must protect yourself when you are using your computer. You have to implement protective strategies from the inside out because the identity thieves swill attack you from all angles. The following are nine tips that can help you build a fortress of protection around your unit and yourself:
1. Get an Antivirus ASAP
Reading advice that you should get an antivirus may sound like old news, but you’d be surprised how many people go surfing bare these days. You wouldn’t go out on a surfboard bare would you? So why jump into the Internet with no layer of protection. Way too many antivirus programs are free, and way too many new viruses hit the Internet each day for you to chance it. You can get some protection within the next five minutes, and you don’t have to spend a dime. Examples of free antivirus programs that you can grab hold of are Kaspersky, Avast, AVG, Avira and Panda. You will at least have 30 days to try them. Additionally, you can grab an antivirus program such as Malware Bytes.
2. Don’t Save Your Passwords
Browsers like to make things convenient for computer users by offering to remember their passwords, but that can just spell disaster in the midst of a hacker on the rampage. The best thing you can do is kindly tell your browser no and move on.
3. Only Shop on Secure Sites
Another thing you can do is make sure that you only shop on secure sites when you go shopping. Shopping on unsecure sites can spell disaster for you. You can tell that a site is secure if it has https:// in the beginning of the address. You can shop with confidence if that is the case.
4. Don’t Save Credit Card Information
You are ever so vulnerable when you shop online. Many sites offer to save your credit card information. This is a bad idea because your information will be breached if the site happens to get hacked. It only takes about 15 extra seconds to type in all the numbers on your credit. It is not worth it to take a risk and breach your privacy and your piece of mind. Just say no to website conveniences.
5. Make Your Password Complex
You should change your password at least once every 90 days, if not sooner. Your passwords should always be complex. You should have upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers and funny characters, too. Many people use easy passwords so they don’t forget, but they don’t realize that the identity thieves won’t forget either. You have a better chance of being spared the intrusion if you protect yourself with a cryptic combination of elements for your password.
6. Log Out of Things
Make sure you log out of your email accounts and other accounts. Many users make the mistake of staying logged into their accounts. This leaves them open for intrusion. You should always make sure that you log out and refuse to accept any request to keep you logged in for two weeks or something like that.
7. Do Not Download From Strange Sites
One of the biggest causes of computer viruses is downloads. Many people get caught up out there because they want movies or must so bad that they overlook the potential dangers.
8. Sign up for Credit Monitoring
Signing up for a credit monitoring service is an excellent way to protect yourself. The credit monitoring service will alert you if anything fishy occurs with your social security number. For example, they will contact you if someone opens a bank account or gets an apartment with your name or something like that. You can then put a security feature on your social security number so that it will not happen again. Your credit cards and bank accounts have protection on them, so you will be able to get that money back.
9. Use a Secure Web Hosting Site
You should use a web hosting site that has a high security standard to it. Conduct research and make sure that the web hosting company does not have a ton of problems with breaches and such. Read the reviews and ask a consultation about the security measures.
You should be just fine if you follow those previously mentioned tips. Your safety is of the utmost importance, so don’t skimp on it.