5 Steps to Help Prevent Online Identity Theft
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: this year alone, half of the adult population in the United States was hacked. That means that there is a 50% chance that your information was or will be stolen on the Internet. Online identity theft is a serious problem for Internet users and one that is becoming more challenging every day.
As hackers and phishers get more sophisticated, it becomes more difficult for users to identity online scams. Similarly, with families spread out all over the globe, more and more of our lives are being shared on the Internet. Therefore, we are constantly exposing our personal information to the public sphere.
If you want to protect your identity on the Internet, here are five steps to help stop online identity theft in its tracks.
1) The Power of a Good Password
The biggest barrier between you and online criminals is your password. You would be surprised to know how many people use simple, easy-to-guess passwords like “123” or “abc.” Similarly, many people use passwords that incorporate personal information that is easy to discover online, such as their birthday, pet’s names, or a spouse’s name.
The strongest passwords have a couple of important characteristics. First, they are several characters long and incorporate both upper and lower-case letters. Also, the best passwords to prevent online identity theft include numbers and symbols.
Once you have a good password set, don’t rest on your laurels. You need to change and update your passwords regularly. The best method is to create a schedule and change your passwords every week or so.
2) Only Connect to Trusted Networks
Believe it or not, public networks are often the most vulnerable networks and the most unsafe to use. Think of the Wi-Fi networks that exist at the mall, restaurants, or public city Wi-Fi networks. While they may be convenient, you never know who is lurking on these networks waiting to steal your personal information.
3) Use Antivirus Protection and Firewalls
Most people are intimidated by the terms antivirus and firewall and try to stay away from them. But the truth is that these are essential tools to protecting your identity online. These programs monitor your computer and can stop unauthorized users from accessing your computer and the personal information you have stored inside. If you are wondering how to prevent identity theft, antivirus and firewalls are something you should not ignore.
4) If You Experience a Hack, Take Action Immediately
While you may be one of the safest Internet users, you can never completely defend yourself. You may still be vulnerable to having an account hacked online. If this is the case, you need to act immediately to prevent any further damage and stop online identity theft.
Start by systematically changing the passwords to all of your online accounts including emails and social media. Once a hacker has compromised one of your accounts, it becomes much easier for him to access your others. So, take action to stop the hacker in their tracks.
Similarly, you may want to contact the service provider to make sure no damage was done to your account. Large providers like Gmail and Facebook may be able to help you get your account back under control.
5) Use Apps to Stop Online Identity Theft
The final step to employ quality ID protection is to use a protection app like what we offer at LogDog, which you can sign up for here. The experts at LogDog know how to keep your accounts safe and constantly monitor your connected accounts for suspicious activity. If you are a more passive user or don’t have the time or energy to devote to constantly monitoring your accounts, this may be the best option for you!