ICLOAK - Videos Buy Now More How To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
A Modern Menace
The Internet have undoubtedly revolutionized our lives and made many activities such as banking and shopping much more convenient. With the click of a button, we can now do in 10 seconds what used to take an afternoon. However, with such convenience also comes risk. Online identity theft is a crime that can happen all too easily to unsuspecting victims, and can ruin your finances and your life. Thus, you would be wise to take these simple steps to prevent your identity from being stolen.
Many people are too complacent with their passwords. They use simple passwords, or even worse, use the same password on all their accounts on different websites. It doesn’t matter if you use the most complicated password in the world if you use it on every website, because some websites have significantly less security to protect your password where they store it. Thus, if you use the same password on every website, an identity thief could use a password they stole from a small, obscure website to access your bank account. The best way to protect your passwords is to use a password manager.
There are many options for password managers, such as LastPass, KeePass, Dashlane, and 1Password. If you use a Mac, OS X’s Safari has a built in password manager that also automatically syncs with your iPhone. A password manager will remember your passwords for you and automatically fill them in, meaning you can use complex 32 character passwords that are different for every website. This will make it essentially impossible for a would-be identity thief to log into your bank account, because even if they do have your password from a different website, they can’t use it to log in to your bank.
When using a website that requests your personal details, like online banking or employment, the first step to protecting your personal information is to make sure that the website is really the website that you mean to visit. Sometimes, identity thieves will use a fake website that looks like the real one. You can tell if the website is real by looking at the url. Most genuine websites have urls that are the business name followed immediately by “.com” or the like. If there is another word between the business name and the “.com”, the website is most likely fake.
Also make sure that the web page address begins with “https://” and not “http://”. The “s” signifies that you are accessing the webpage over an encrypted, secure connection, protecting your information from being stolen on the way to the website’s servers. Most browsers today will show a small padlock symbol when you are accessing a webpage over an https connection. Remember that email is not secured; it is unsafe to send passwords over email. Using these steps will make sure your personal data is not accessible to thieves over the internet.
In addition to protecting your data from thieves far away, you also need to be secure against physical attack. For example, avoid entering personal info over public wifi. A nearby person could steal your data over the wifi connection, even if you are on an https connection. Although it may seem obvious, also avoid writing down passwords where others could see them, such as a sticky note on your monitor, and prevent other people from using the same user account on your PC by logging off completely when you are done using your computer to prevent physical access by others.
A Fortress Upon a Hill
Identity theft is certainly a scary prospect, and can happen to anyone, considering how much of our personal lives are on the internet now. However, by following these simple steps, you are now much safer and will frustrate any thieves into leaving your accounts alone and safe. Good luck and happy browsing.
A serial Entrepreneur, With a broad base of experience from being a pet shop owner, working in radio, putting the first Virtual Reality Systems in Disney World, fundraising, import/export, cyber security, everything technology related, sales and marketing, to market research and channel distribution working for MTV Networks/Viacom, consultant to the National Science Foundation on SBIR funding proposals, and currently investing in real estate, startups, and founding and running ICLOAK, Inc.