Thursday, February 12, 2015

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft Online

The Internet was created as a way for people to connect with others and share knowledge across the world without having to leave their homes. Over the years, it has evolved into a way for people to conduct different types of business - both personal and commercial - with large numbers of people. With this widespread reach, the possibility of online identity theft has grown, sadly becoming almost commonplace. It is imperative for those that spend any time online, and have entered in any personal information to understand exactly what identity theft is, and websites like provide vital information to consumers to help them better protect themselves. 

How to Prevent Online Identity Theft

A few simple measures taken can help to protect you and your information from online identity theft. You may choose to take all of these preventative measures, or you may only practice what is important to you; it all depends on what you feel is a necessary level of security. From using varied passwords to only perusing reputable websites, the different measures that you can take will be unique to each individual. 

Do not enter information unless you can verify the security of the website. Your bank will never require you to email them personal information, nor will retail websites. Always log in and update information through the official websites, and ensure that anyone who uses your information to purchase items (spouse, children, etc) does the same. 

Make up unique passwords for various websites. Although many sites require you to come up with varied passwords including capitalization, numbers and even special characters, it is important to folly guidelines and create passwords that other people cannot guess easily. Names, birthdays and pet names may be easy for you to remember, but that also makes them easier for others to guess...and misuse. 

Use common sense. Sorry to say, but that Nigerian prince that emailed you about the millions of dollars that he’s planning on sharing does not exist. Scams like these are called phishing scams - all they are doing is attempting to get information from people as a way to invade their privacy - and use their information for nefarious purposes. In this same vein, entering information into pop up windows, chat rooms or even untested retail or merchant sites can result in stolen information and a huge hassle. 

What Else Can I Do? 

In addition to these ideas, you can also take measures to protect your actual computer - not just your information. Putting a password on your WiFi network may not seem like it will do much, but it can keep people from leeching off of your connection and using your network for illegal activities. Another suggestion is to ensure that you'e using protection on your device. Anti-virus software, Malware protectors and even routinely running system clean up scans can do wonders to help protect yourself and your important information. Protecting yourself from online identity theft is about vigilance and choices, not about constantly worrying about your security. Many of these precautions - the passwords, security questions, anti-virus, not entering information each time it is asked for, and even sticking to reputable sites - are extremely effective in helping to prevent identity theft, which should set your mind at ease when it comes to your personal safety and online security. 

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