Online Identity Theft: 5 Tips to Steer Well Clear

POSTED BY Vlad IN Software ON 18 Apr 2012

There’s little intro needed here – we all probably know at least one person that’s had their identity or credit information stolen.  Flat out, it’s the pits.  Here is a list of 5 ways to make sure you aren’t the next victim:

- Be wary of Phishing

This is a common strategy hackers use to trick you into giving out your personal information. The most common examples include fake offers and promotions. We’ve all received that email saying you’ve won something and all you have to do is answer a few quick questions and it’s yours. Put your excitement on hold and maybe question why this random company is saying you won a contest you never even entered. Second-guess any offers or promotions you receive, and double check the source. Simply type the message or sender name into Google, and if the world “scam” pops up anywhere, chances are it is one.

- Keep your passwords safe

Although pretty straightforward, it’s surprising how many people aren’t more protective of their passwords.  The rules are simple: don’t write your passwords down, make them easy to remember, but do not make them easy to guess.  Be sure to use combinations of unrelated words, letters, symbols and numbers. Also make your passwords unique to each of your different accounts, so if one site is compromised, the hacker will not be able to access all your accounts.

computersecurity 1024x683 Online Identity Theft: 5 Tips to Steer Well Clear

- Keep your security software up to date

As great as it is to have anti-malware software on your computer, if it’s not up to date, it’s basically useless and you’re computer is susceptible to harmful viruses and trojans. To create a barrier from untrusted networks, make sure you have a firewall set up if you access the internet through a wireless network.  For those of you who need a bit heavier security options, see the next tip.

- Implement key management software 

This is a good option for larger companies or those individuals with more technical sensitive information that needs good protection.  Using key management services is a great way to ensure the safety of your data and is the best way to keep hackers guessing.

- Know the company you are dealing with

If you’re about to submit a credit card number, social security number or any other piece of highly personal information, think twice before doing so.  If it’s a company you aren’t familiar with, be very cautious and to play it safe; do some research.  Many companies have a 24-hour hotline you can call with any questions you may have concerning the privacy of your information.  Any company that you can trust will be able to answer why they need this information and what they will be doing with it.

No matter what your security needs are, there’s plenty of ways to make sure your information is kept safe.  Unfortunately, there’s also plenty of ways that hackers can get to your files if, you aren’t careful.  Be safe, be smart, and always avoid Trojans.

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