Tips to Prevent Online Identity Theft
Almost everybody uses the internet every day. It is intertwined in almost everything we do: sending emails, paying bills, managing bank accounts, going shopping, or surfing social media. Data breaches are becoming more and more common. If someone were to get your personal information that you use online, it could put you at risk for being a victim of identity theft.
Many Americans worry they could be victims of online identity theft, but are unaware on how to protect themselves. Below are a few tips to follow to help protect your personal information and reduce your risk of identity theft:
- Use only one credit or debit card for online purchases. Set up text and email alerts so you can know when a transaction is charged to your account.
- Do your research on retailers or stores when shopping online to make sure they are reputable and that they use a secure network (websites with a SSL start with https://).
- Never send personal information such as Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, bank account numbers, or any other sensitive information in emails or text messages.
- Do not click unknown links in emails from suspicious sources.
- If you ever doubt an email is legitimate, contact the company/institution directly and let them know you received an email regarding this issue.
- Avoid keeping any personal information stored on any device – computer, tablet, or phone.
- Keep your firewall and anti-virus software updated. Cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and most software programs require updates to stay aware of new attacks.