Every day, technology becomes a bigger part of the way we communicate, conduct business and organize information. And while technology becomes increasingly central in our daily activities, cyber security becomes more important as one of the main safeguards in identity theft protection.
Fortunately, there are a few online precautions you can take to help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity-related computer crime.
Protect your identity from cyber crime
- Set up an email account that you use only for paying bills, online banking and other financial transactions. Do not log into this email account on public computers.
- Ignore emails that ask for your credit card information.
- Prevent cyber theft by creating strong passwords for all of your online accounts, including email and banking accounts. Strong passwords should include a complex combination of numbers and letters (lowercase and uppercase).
- Reduce your risk for a variety of cyber crimes by practicing caution when it comes to file sharing. This technology can help identity thieves access your files and steal your personal information. Take file sharing protection measures, such as limiting the files that can be shared on your network and installing anti-virus software.
- Be wary of emails that ask you to update your account information. Fraudulent emails may feature the logo of the company and appear official, but once you enter your personal information, it can be delivered directly to identity thieves. Remember, a bank will never email you and ask for you to enter your account number or PIN number. When in doubt, call your bank and ask to speak with a manager or supervisor.
- Be mindful of what you do with your old computer. If you want to donate it to charity, either remove the hard drive or have the hard drive permanently wiped clean. Identity theft victims, especially those who pay their bills online, may have Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and loads of other personal information on their computers.
- If you suspect that you may be a victim of cyber crime or any other type of identity theft, you should immediately place a fraud alert on your credit report. Fraud alerts can make it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts or lines of credit using your identity.
Facing the threat of cyber theft
Protecting your identity is no longer as simple as storing tax forms and identity documents in a safe or locked drawer. You also have to worry about all the ways your identity could be jeopardized from behind a computer screen.
The answer is to get informed and take the proper measures to protect yourself.