Identity theft is certainly not a new phenomenon—but it’s growing in our digital age. Preventing identity theft is easy when you know what steps to take—and what to look out for online.
Here are Digital Citizen’s Alliance top five tips to protect yourself from identity theft online:
- Keep your passwords strong and safe. Make sure your passwords are secure by using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Also, be sure to use different passwords for different accounts. Finally, change your passwords often and never share them with anyone.
- Make sure the sites you’re using are secure. If you’re providing your Social Security number, driver’s license number, or credit card and other financial information online, make sure the URL begins with “https://” so you know the site—and your personal information—is protected.
- Remember, email is not always secure. Don’t email your personal information. If you get an email from what appears to be your bank or financial institution asking for personal information, do not respond. A credible bank will never ask for such information over email. Also, never open email or attachments from senders you don’t recognize—and don’t click on links in the email either.
- Update your anti-virus and spyware software. Make sure you have trusted anti-virus and spyware software installed on your computer and update it regularly so the information on your personal computer stays safe and protected.
- Only download from trusted, legal sources. You wouldn’t buy a fake Rolex from a shady character in a back alley. Okay—you might—but that fake Rolex isn’t going to give a criminal access to your whole life. Downloading software or “free” movies and music might. Illegal or counterfeit downloads often contain Trojan Horse viruses and spyware that could wreak havoc on your computer while divulging your personal information to online criminals.
Have you or someone you know fallen victim to identity theft? Or do you have a tip you don’t see here? Send Digital Citizen’s Alliance an email at email@example.com.
Source: Digital Citizen’s Alliance