4 Ways To Protect Your Identity Online

There’s a common saying that the internet right now can currently be likened to the “wild wild west” of the cowboy days. And if stats like “someone’s identity is stolen every three seconds” are true, then you need to be wary online. Sure, most companies and websites are doing their very best to provide some form of protection, but the truth is you as an individual are largely responsible for your safety online.

The world was recently shocked by the revelation of a weakness in one of the major security protocols online caused by the Heartbleed Bug. This goes to show you that even when websites are supposedly secure, try not to leave anything to chance. That said, you should take the necessary precautions to protect your identity and that of your loved ones online.

Use More Secure Passwords

In spite of the many tales of hacked accounts and all the security measures put in place by websites, many people still sign up for services using “password” as their password or “12345678” as their password.

Others use things like popular names, words, dates, states and countries. You need to start using more secure passwords. A typical secure password should include random numbers, letters in caps and lower cases, and signs. There should also be no discernible pattern to it. A good example is “;3YTVFQW$#@,{{.s”. Now, that’s an enviable password, don’t you think?

Avoid Using the Same Username and Password Across Multiple Accounts

Nowadays, the average individual has at least three accounts on multiple sites these days. Using the same username and password across all websites is extremely risky. In fact, you’ll be surprised at the number of people who use the same login details for their online bank accounts on public forums.

Fellas, forums, message boards, social networking sites and even supposedly highly secure websites –ebay anyone?- can be hacked. So, why risk it? If it’s difficult to remember your password, write them down somewhere and have them handy. It’s that simple.

Remove Personal Details

If you have a social network account, remove your phone number or hide it so only your friends can see it. The same goes for birthdays –let’s face it, most people use their birth years as their ATM pins- and other important information. True, people join social networks to socialize and probably widen their social circle. This is not necessarily a bad thing. What is creepy is letting them know everything about you without any prior relationship.

Think about it this way: If you went to a party and someone you don’t know walked up to you and told you everything about themselves, what would you think about them? You’d probably call them creeps or weirdos, right? So, do the smart thing. Don’t be the creep or weirdo. Limit the number of friend requests you accept. If the person isn’t vaguely familiar at the least or something whose profile you can find online, do not accept the friend request. That person can end up being a stalker or god forbid, a child molester and serial killer.

Avoid Opening Emails from Unknown Persons

It’s true that things can be hard or difficult sometimes. And when you’re hard up and find an email promising to make you rich overnight, your first impulse is to click the link and visit the website they’re referring you to. If you’re lucky, these spam mails may just redirect to a porn or business opportunity site. At the very worst, it could immediately activate a Trojan, malware or keylogger that monitors all your online activities and keystrokes and “calls home” with the data. Summarily, do NOT open emails from people you know or familiar addresses.

Finally, do not leave yourself exposed out there. Use your judgment. If a website seems fishy, follow your instincts. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Identity theft is real and responsible for people losing their homes, jobs and lifesavings. Be smart. Take the necessary precautions now and stay safe.

Featured images:

Eduardo Dieguez is a 1st generation American born Cuban that is currently in pursuit of his AA Degree at Valencia. An avid computer enthusiast, Eduardo spends countless hours tinkering with electronics both new and old. He highly recommends the Law Office of Scott D. Owens, one of Florida’s most recognized consumer advocates.

Article written by

This article was submitted by a guest blogger.  Guest blogging provides an avenue to share a variety of different points of view with a broad audience.  It is a good way to share cumulative knowledge as well as introducing readers to a new author.  Learn more about how to become a contributor for Riches Corner.

Leave a Reply