Whether you are in the process of regaining your credit standing after tough financial times or are merely trying to safeguard your personal information and prevent fraud, here are a few tips to help protect yourself from identity theft on-line:
- Use strong passwords and change them frequently. Refrain from using your name, child’s name or even your dog’s name! Instead, use a mix of lowercase letters, uppercase letters and numbers. In order to remember the passwords, write them down and keep them in a safe place away from your computer.
- If a site you are using requires registration, only fill in the required fields. Also, deny sharing permission.
- Never click on suspicious links or on unknown email attachments. Keep your web browser up to date.
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards when making purchases online. Credit cards offer stronger fraud protection.
- Never email your credit card number to anyone. Also, be sure to check your monthly credit card statements each month for possible fraudulent charges and report them immediately.
- Use firewall and antivirus software.
- Never click on any links sent to you about any problems with your bank. Call the bank directly or go to the bank’s website.
- When you visit websites, search for the LOCK symbol. Look in your browser’s status bar and “https” in the address bar for a lock symbol. Even though it is not guaranteed to be secure with the symbol, there is usually no security if the symbol is missing.
- On social networking sites, mark your profiles as ‘private.’
- Teach your children about not sharing any personal information online or through social media sites.
Visit staysafeonline.org, a site powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, for more in-depth tips on staying safe in the cyber world.