How can you protect yourself from identity theft online? Follow this simple steps to protect your private information.
The trend of the internet and social media has influenced almost every person across different countries. People have started to rely on the Internet for their personal and professional tasks, whether it is email sending, sharing photo on social media, browsing stuffs, or online shopping. Free public WI-Fi hotspots have lured people to attach to the Internet.
The things, which have mentioned above are good to pace with technology trends. But many web users are careless regarding sharing of their personal information, therefore such users fall victim to cyber criminals. Such careless behavior of web user can cause identity theft.
Have you thought anyway, that is how the trend of using the internet can cause your identity by not giving attention to security persuasions? I think I will get mixed answers on it so it is not too late. Go through the tips, listed below to secure your online identity.
In this article, I have pointed out 10 simple tips that can protect web user against online identity theft:
1. Make use of the latest Antivirus Software
There are antivirus software available in the market that protects user’s PC or Smartphone against prevailing and potential virus, Trojan, as well as types of malware. After installing antivirus software, always keep it updated to fix more bugs. Currently, antivirus software also provides an anti theft feature for a Smartphone that inform about the location of the user’s phone.
2. Be careful for Social media and Smartphone privacy setting
When dealing with social media, users should keep in mind below tips:
- The user should only accept friend request that he/she know.
- Remove any email address, phone number, birth date, etc.
- Never share any personal or sensitive information on wall posting, message or feeds.
- In privacy settings, limit the access of an account.
- Use a separate email account for social media sites.
When dealing with Smartphone, users should keep in mind below tips:
- When downloads any software or app on a Smartphone, it is necessary to read privacy, access that an app or software demands.
- Do not download any software from third party resources; always download apps from legitimate stores like Google play, Apple, etc.
3. Use strong and different Password
In current time, users all keep many accounts on different sites, but keep a single password for all online accounts. It is not good for the privacy and user should use different passwords for different account. It is also sensible to change the password timely to avoid spying of cyber criminals.
Generally, users keep their date of birth, vehicle no, name and 123456 numbers as a password that can cause identity theft. Because cyber criminals can easily get a user’s information from social media or other sites and can reveal about the password. Therefore, make the password complex, different, and do not share it with anybody is the best way to secure your identity.
4. Check HTTPS on the website
When users share their information on social media sites and online shopping site, they should check the web URL that should start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. Because an extra “S” means the site is protected with SSL security, and the information they are providing will transfer in a secured way by encryption. Legitimate business website is important thing in online world.
5. Keep your communication network Secure
Public WI-Fi is insecure because users have no idea, whether the network is legitimate or gimmick. When users have a personal Internet connection at home, keep a password for WI-Fi connection, so the outsiders cannot access it without a password.
Otherwise, malicious hackers can inject malware through open WI-Fi connection and can interpret PC and Smartphone details.
6. Avoid Phishing mails
Phishing mails are designed to steal user’s login information or money without awareness. Such phishing mails are pretending to be from government authorities, job-hunting, dating mails, great discount offers, etc.
Email services like Hotmail, Gmail etc. keep a spam folder to avoid phishing mail. Users just can press “add to spam” button if the mail looks like a phishing mail.
7. Keep a record of credit and bank account statement
Always check credit card and bank account statement to check any suspicious transactions. If any transaction that user found is illegal or suspicious, then immediate contact with the relevant authorities. Banks always send an account statement on the customer’s email address that customers should check.
8. Usage of Personal VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A VPN service creates a secured tunnel between the VPN server and device as well as secure web sessions. Therefore, any information will remain encrypted like passwords, credit card information, login credentials, etc.
VPN services replace the user’s IP address with the VPN server’s IP address, and thus users remain anonymous over the web.
It avoids tracking of browser activities and other Internet tasks.
9. Keep track of children online
Social media have also influenced children that come in age group of 13 to 15 years. Your children online activity can put them and you at risk.
Therefore, it is advisable to monitor their activity and if it is possible, then discussing with them about the pros and cons of social media.
Many children became the victim of Cyberbullying. Educate your children about how to deal with social media.
10. Delete the tracking Cookies
Cookies store information about user’s browser activities. Such information then is sold out without the user’s awareness. It is sensible to block cookies on your browser.
There are add-ons available on Firefox and chrome that block browser cookies.
The main cause of Identity theft is the absence of awareness of web users that turns them into victims.
The above precautions can make a difference, provides a secure environment for web users, and averts them from falling into the victim’s hands.
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