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Stop Being a Victim of Online Identity Theft!

The Internet is a very useful tool for people. It helps us communicate with our loved ones who are at the other side of the nation or overseas. It helps us find a lot of information regarding something. It allows us to listen to radio stations from all over the world, or even watch movies. It also helps us purchase things without ever having to leave our homes. The Internet is also a very useful tool for identity thieves.

Many have fallen prey to numerous baits left by identity thieves and lost their identities. As we know, knowledge is the best weapon against this. Know how to stop being a victim of online identity theft, and follow some simple tips that we will give you: 1) Use secure servers When surfing the Internet, make sure you are on a secure or encrypted server. That way, when a hacker or ID thief tries to find you and your computer’s location, they cannot locate you as your ISP and URL are encrypted, or coded as unreadable characters, by your server. Secure servers will filter fraud websites and spam mails before you can access them.

2) Don’t reply to spoofed e–mails Spoofed mails are e–mails sent to you by certain e–mail accounts, asking for your details, or telling you to reply to their e–mail to do something like verify the details of your credit card account, online account, etc. These e–mail accounts pose as banks, credit card companies, retailing websites like eBay, PayPal etc., and send you emails telling you to give them your information to get or verify something. NEVER REPLY TO SPOOF E–MAILS! Banks, credit card companies, and other companies never ask their client to send their details over the Internet just for verification or claiming a prize or confirming your entry into a raffle draw you have never joined. 3) Don’t open files sent by unknown sources If someone you have never known sends you a file over the Internet, usually through an instant messenger, or as an attachment in an e–mail, DO NOT OPEN IT! The file may contain viruses and spying software that will steal your personal information that is in your computer. Besides, opening the file may cause serious damage to your computer! 4) Properly log into your sensitive accounts Always log on to your sensitive accounts by opening a new browser and typing the actual URL directly into the address bar. This will help you verify if the URL of the sender of an email is really the website it claims to be. 5) Use disposable e-mail accounts Whenever you want to join a newsgroup, subscribe to mailing lists, or make online purchases, always use a disposable, free email account. That way, you can always delete that account if you suspect ID theft. Always keep your business account for business and personal communications.

6) Disguise your online ID Never use domain names and identities that will give out who you are. For example, if you are Brian Gadzuric, do not use brgadzuric@mail.com or briangadz as your email address and username respectively, especially when dealing with people you do not know. 7) Use leveled and strong passwords Always have different passwords for your accounts. A password should be different for your personal account, business account, and disposable account. Never use sequential passwords like password1, password2, password3 etc. that will easily allow others to access your accounts. Make sure your passwords will be very difficult to guess. Use a combo of letters, numbers, and characters that only you can remember. Never write down a copy of your password.

If you must, make sure you keep it in a safe place. 8) Regularly change passwords Always change your passwords after a short period, let us say, one month. Regularly changing passwords makes if very difficult to access your accounts. It also helps stimulate your memory and creative side. 9) Use credit cards for online purchases Credit cards are more secure than debit cards due to the security system being used by credit card companies. Besides, disputing fraudulent chargers is easier than recovering funds already spent. Also, use ONLY ONE CREDIT CARD for online purchases. 10) Always check a company’s privacy policy Whenever you are going to transact business with a company, make sure to check its privacy policy. Also, make sure to click the logos of the consumer groups posted on their website to make sure that the safety authentication is authentic. Make sure you also know the real online consumer welfare groups before transacting with companies.

11) Always use a secure site when submitting data Make sure the URL of the site has https:// at the beginning, or has a padlock icon at the address bar before submitting sensitive data. 12) Security Software for your PC Always make sure that you get the latest security patches for your operating system and internet browser. Also, update your virus databases, and install advertisement and pop–up blockers that will disallow pop–ups from certain websites from appearing on your screen.


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