Identity Theft Through The Internet
We all use the Internet these days. Times aren't like they used to be when we hardly ever used the Internet, most people use the Internet a couple times a week at the least. Technology has become so advanced that you can do or find just about anything online including other people's information. You may not know it, but your computer collects and stores all sorts of information about you on your hard drive things like passwords, logins, names, addresses, even your credit card number. So as technology continues to grow so do the techiniques for thieves to steal your identity. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of Internet identity theft:
- Always remain cautious. It's never a good idea to leave your laptop or desktop computer unattended, or with someone you suspect is capable of stealing your identity. Be sure that the people you are with are people you can trust.
- Be sure to keep your security software updated, it can be done easily by using security software that updates automatically. Get anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as a firewall. When buying a computer remember that adequate security software doesn't automatically come with it, because technology is so sophisticated security threats grow every day. Also be sure to avoid emails that claim they scanned your computer and discovered viruses or spyware.
- Make sure the Web browsers and operating systems are current. Always update security patches that are issued when security flaws are found. Security and Privacy settings come built-in the computer, know how to change these settings if needed by going to "Tools" or "Options". Hackers know how to get past the default settings so it would be a good idea to change the default settings. If you are not using the internet there is no reason why you should be connected, so turn it off, turning your internet off makes it harder for hackers to get to your information.
- Passwords, when creating passwords make them strong and protect them. Stay away from using any of your personal information such as your birthday, SSN, mother's maiden name. Try creating a password that is random that includes letters as well as numbers or symbols. When you are creating accounts with passwords try to use a different password for each seperate account, it may be difficult to remember all of them but it is the safest way. Write passwords down in case you forget them and hide them in a safe place, do not store them on your computer.
- Emails. Many people will open and respond to emails that look legitimate that ask for either their password, account, or any personal information, and get hacked that way. Just remember that no legitimate company will ever ask you for any of that information over the Internet. If you respond to the email with all the information asked for you are more than likely to get hacked, this crime is called "phishing". Know who your dealing with before you respond.
- Before making a purchase or doing business with companies you are unsure of make sure you do your RESEARCH. Look up the business for reviews about the company to see if it's a legitimate company before you do business with them. When researching look for a seller's phone number on the site and try calling it to make sure it works. If the phone number doesn't work or there isn't one listed on the page move on and don't conduct any form of business with them. You wouldn't want to pay for something then not recieve your purchase because a thief just used your information to make their own purchases and now you have just became a victim of identity theft. It is crucial for you to research companies your are unsure about doing business with.