The internet, undoubtedly, has unlimited benefits but it has also got few risks factors and one of them is identity theft. Don’t believe it? Well, it is true and a lot of people have gone through this bad experience when they were ripped off their own identity. If you are not yet ready to believe it, one day you might happen to stumble upon your own account being operated by someone else.
You can expect anything worst from the cyber criminals because they can go to every limit to gain some benefit. For example, there could be various social networking accounts on your name without your knowledge. These accounts might have been created by the criminals for getting their malicious actions done.
In 21st century, most of the internet users share their personal information on different social networking accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc and this information is enough for cyber criminals to steal your identity. They can create new accounts with your information and get connected with your friends on list.
How to Get Protection Against Identify Theft?
The best way to protect you from identity theft attack is to quit putting information on internet. However, it is not easier for most of the users because they are addicted to internet based services either it is for information purpose or simply entertainment. So let’s go for other options to protect you from identify theft.
1. Learn About Phishing Websites
A phishing website is the duplicate of an original website and presents itself as the original one. For example, you have got an account on Facebook and when you want to log in, you land on a phishing website that has the same look as Original Facebook. Now what do you do to log in? You put your username along with password.
From now your username and passwords may be stolen. But when you move further, they might also ask you to provide them other sensitive information such as social security details, credit card details, banking information, license number etc. Hence, you don’t know that you are on a phishing website, most probably, you would provide the information they ask for.
Therefore, when you are asked to provide sensitive information, you must double-check authenticity of the site. The best way to ensure authenticity of the website is to check its root URL, for example, www.facebook.com. You might stumble upon a phishing website with a similar URL something like www.facetobook.com
2. Use Strong, Unique and Dissimilar Passwords
A user’s email address and an online account are the major sources to access his personal data. The same may be exploited by a criminal to access user’s sensitive information. Another problem is that most of the users use the same password for various accounts because they can’t remember many of them.
The online security experts strongly advise that the users must create different passwords for different accounts. The passwords must not just be different but dissimilar as well. For example abc123 and abc124 are different but not dissimilar while on the other hand abc123 and rocketscience2019 are dissimilar or contradictory to each other.
Having dissimilarity in passwords would make it much harder for hackers to crack it. Remember that a strong and unique password will ensure maximum security against identify theft. If you really want to stay protected online, you must go for a strong, unique and dissimilar password.
3. Install a Powerful Antivirus Program
The biggest and most effective weapon of the hackers is a virus or a malware and most of the identity theft incidents occur due to these viruses or malwares. Such malicious programs are smart enough to get automatically installed in your computer system through backdoors and you would never know about them at all.
You can’t always monitor your system for detecting viruses or malwares but you can install antivirus program that could provide you enough security. There is a large number of antivirus software available online and many of them are free. However, we strongly advise you to use a premium version instead of free to get maximum protection.
4. Use a Secure Wi-Fi Connection
The wireless network security is essential for a number of reasons such as protection from identity theft, safeguard against viruses and malwares, prevention of online scams and frauds. If you are using a wireless network which is not protected by a password, your network is at greater risk. It simply means your sensitive information may be stolen very easily by the hackers.
An unsecure network may be used by the hackers who would be able to monitor your online activities. Besides, they would be able to access your device and other data. In this way, they can gather enough information about you and use for their malicious purposes. Therefore, it is highly important to use a wireless network with a strong password that can’t be broken easily.
5. Download only from Trusted Sources
We all have to download software, games, movies and other programs and we don’t usually care where to download it. However, it has become extremely crucial to verify what websites we are using to download a program. There are so many places on internet which offer free downloading of movies, games and software but there are only few places which are secure.
It is highly advised not to go and download a program from a website which is not familiar to you. In fact, installing a game or even a screensaver may open doors for the malwares and Trojans. Therefore, you must be very careful about the source of downloads. Additionally, you should update your antivirus program frequently to prevent viruses.
6. Stop Discussing Personal Matters Publicly
Last but not least, I would like to draw your attention towards public discussion. You must have seen various group discussions where people start talking about their personal lives and; they share even those things which should have been remained private. For example, in a facebook post or a group, two friends may start talking about their personal lives.
This activity may give an opportunity to a third person who might be a hacker or a cyber criminal. So you must stop yourself discussing your personal matters publicly where a lot of people are reading your chats. It is always good to use personal chatting software for personal discussion to keep your information encrypted.
Identify theft has become a serious issue in this age of technology where the information spreads like a wild fire. Therefore, you must take it unserious because they may bring you unnecessary and completely unexpected stress in your life. Use the above suggestions and all the other ways to protect your online activities from the cyber criminals.