Identity theft on the internet is one of the most common crimes. Online criminals are out there looking for opportunities to steal your identity and money. Learn about the types of identity theft that are popular among these hackers, scammers and thieves and follow these important steps to protect yourself online.
Use automatically updating security software. Online crooks are smart, and are always coming up with new ways to steal from you. Choose security software that automatically updates against the newest threats, and set your operating system and internet browser to update automatically.
Don’t let your software expire and never click on or buy software from unexpected pop-ups or emails. These offers are from scammers looking for opportunities to get “in” to your computer.
Safeguard your personal information. Only give out personal information (Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers) when absolutely necessary and to people you completely trust. Never give your information in response to an email. Trustworthy companies aren’t going to ask for your information via email.
Do a little checking on companies before you buy from them. If you see an offer or ad, take a few minutes to check it out. Search the ad or company name with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “ID scam.” See if you find any bad reviews. If you can’t find any information about the company, it may be not be legitimate, and you should take your business elsewhere.
Only buy from safe sites. If you’re entering in personal information to a website, be sure that it is encrypted (you’ll know this if there is an “https” at the beginning of the web address – the “s” means it is secure. Be sure every page has “https” and not just the home page.
Use complicated passwords. The experts recommend using at least 10 characters, 12 is better and mixing letters, numbers and special characters. The experts say to not us your name, birthdate or common words, and to not use the same password for many accounts. Keep your passwords in a secure place and never give your password to companies – legitimate ones will never send you a message (phone, text or email) asking for your password.
In case your computer is ever compromised, you should be backing up important files to an external hard drive, so that files won’t be completely lost.