As far as crimes are concerned, the internet can still be defined as the Wild Wild West. Every other day, you learn about crimes that were done through the internet. It has become a stomping ground for criminals and is used as a tool for every type of crime. Most people are concerned about protecting their financial information because they don’t want to be robbed. Cybercriminals can take advantage of an individual’s bank and credit card information and steal from them. However, this isn’t the only crime they can commit. The cyber fraudsters are also interested in the personal information of an individual, which includes their name, addresses etc. Thus, online identity protection is essential when you are browsing the internet.
While there is no foolproof way to protect your identity, other than completely stop using the internet, there are some simple tips that can be used by individuals as precautions and they are:
Select Quality Passwords
The easiest way for a thief to get access to your bank account and other information is through your password. Even though it may be a bit difficult to remember, it is best to have a different password for your social networking accounts, credit cards, email accounts and online banking information. This would make it difficult for someone to learn your passwords as long as you don’t opt for something personal and predictable. Choose as your passwords a mix of letters and numbers as this will keep hackers guessing.
Use a Firewall
Firewalls are usually pre-installed in most computers, but, if not, there are professional and free versions available online that can be downloaded. They can act as a great deterrent to hackers.
Use Software Tools
There are numerous software applications that are specially designed to scan a computer thoroughly and eliminate any malicious code that may be attempting to steal or damage an individual’s personal information. There are also features in these applications that don’t allow any files to download onto the computer without the knowledge and permission of the user. Likewise, they can also remove any embarrassing and personal information that may be exploited by cybercriminals.
Don’t open emails from unknown senders, especially when they have attachments because they usually are malware. Furthermore, if an email contains an offer that sounds too good to be true, then it really may be so don’t open the link provided. Be suspicious of any email that asks for your personal information no matter how good a reward it may offer. Keep in mind that personal information via email is rarely demanded by legitimate businesses. So, if your bank is asking for anything confidential via email, don’t proceed until you have verified it by contacting the bank. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Check the Lock
A padlock symbol should appear in the browser’s toolbar and ‘https’ should be part of the URL. This is an indication of a safe and secure connection as encryption technology is used for protection.
With these tips, you can protect your online identity easily.
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