15 tips for staying safe online and preventing identity theft

15 tips for staying safe online and preventing identity theft

Summary: What are some simple tips, tricks and best-practice methods of keeping yourself and your digital identity safe from hackers?

TOPICS: Security

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  • Shred documents while at home

    Banking statements and utility bills all display personal, sensitive information that give "dumpster divers" dollar signs in their eyes. People are not below wading through your garbage in order to get their hands on this data, which can then be used to fake your identity, steal it, or potentially access your accounts. 

    In addition, pre-approved credit card offers could be used by thieves for applying for credit at a different address -- potentially wrecking your credit score and leaving you with the bill further down the line.

    The solution? Invest in a shredder. 

    Image credit: Ministry of Tech

  • Do not share your passwords or leave them lying around

    It might seem simple enough, but do not share passwords for your online bank accounts, payment systems, social media accounts or email inboxes with anyone. Furthermore, writing down passwords can also lead to a breach of privacy.

  • Keep an eye on your credit score

    If your identity has been stolen or financial details sold on, whether through a fault of your own or if you were a customer of a firm that fell prey to a cyberattack -- such as Target -- your credit score is likely to be affected. Signing up for a 30 day free trial on occasion or maintaining a subscription so you are alerted when changes take place will help you act quickly if something goes wrong. 

Topic: Security

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  • Don't forget VPN

    Good list. You mention the risks of public WiFi. It's good security practice to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when communicating on any public WiFi network. That hides your data from anyone lurking on a public network to steal traffic and data. A search for "VPN providers" will turn up many vendors, and reviews of those vendors. They can be rather inexpensive, and there are even some free ones for simple uses with minimal needs.
  • Make that *ALL* companies.

    "Keep in mind that most companies, and certainly the majority of banks, will never ask you for full passwords or account details via an email."

    Make that *ALL* companies. I know of no companies, not one, that will ever ask you for your account information via email. 20 years ago, some may have done it, but not today.
  • Re: Image #4 "Do not share your passwords or leave them lying around"

    Consider adding to this list something along the lines of:
    -"Monitor physical access to your computer"
    -"Discourage the saving of passwords within your browser"

    ...because someone with physical access to your computer, and you're
    running certain browsers (Mozilla & Chrome come to mind), browser-stored
    passwords can be revealed in clear text.

    Many people are unaware of how easy it is to reveal their browser-saved
    clear-text passwords. Of course if they're not aware of that, they're
    not likely to be aware to enable a "master browser password" -to help
    prevent exploiting this browser feature.

    Mozilla Firefox: See: http://mzl.la/LGo15N
    Chrome: See: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95606?p=settings_password&rd=1
  • Other forms of Protection

    You can use KeyScrambler to encrypt your keystrokes.
    Google Chrome Extension Web Of Trust stops you from going to web sites that may try and install malware.
    HitMan Pro Alert supposedly can protect your computer from CryptoLocker Malware.
    Install Antivirus as well as anti malware (MBAM Chameleon)
    Above all use "Common Sense" and don't get phished.
  • Australian Dept of Defence publishes Top 35

    Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions

  • Try Linux

    Don't use Windows + malware.
  • Frequent password changes

    The is disagreement about frequent changes of passwords as this is a major cause of new password burnout.
    Duns Scotus
  • Wi-Fi Security

    thanks charlie.. i suppose there are many articles about securing a wi-fi router but i ran across one, the other day, and bookmarked it: