Living in the digital world is exciting and convenient. With just a few clicks, you can communicate with friends all around the world, finish your Christmas shopping and manage your bank accounts. However, despite its many advantages, the Internet also comes with a few potential dangers. Namely: identity theft.
While there’s no foolproof way to protect yourself from identity theft, you can take certain precautions to keep your personal information safe from predators.
6 Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
- Never give out your Social Security Number without a valid reason. Since there are only a few valid reasons for providing your SSN to someone online, this is best avoided at all costs. Exceptions include tax, credit and employment purposes.
- Thoroughly dispose of documents with sensitive information. A paper shredded is a great investment for this purpose. Look for one that does crosscuts and consider disposing of your shreds at a secure facility.
- Make secure passwords. Create passwords that use a combination of capitalized and lowercase letters alongside numbers. Avoid having the same password for all of your accounts and make it a point to change your passwords at least once a year.
- Use protective software. Firewalls and spyware software can help protect your computer from viruses and hackers. Make sure your programs stay up to date to avoid potential breaches.
- Pay attention. Keep a close eye on your banking and credit card statements to make sure there aren’t any charges you don’t recognize. Contact your bank immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Services like LifeLock keep an eye on your information for you, and notify you if there appears to be a breach or attempt to steal you identity.
- Teach your children. An especially sneaky form of identity theft involves assuming the identity of children. Make sure your kids know not to give out personal information online and teach them the warning signs of an online predatory.
While identity theft is certainly cause for concern, it shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the Internet. By following these tips and staying aware, you can continue to reap the benefits of online convenience.