Identity theft has become a huge problem in recent years – a problem we hear more about every day. Whether it’s large companies like Target, your local bank or your personal website or email account, keeping information on the Internet private and secure is a big issue today. Here are some tips on how you can protect your private information on the Internet.
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Keep Private Information Off The Internet
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the best way to keep our information private is to keep it OFF the Internet. Your private things like Social Security card, driver’s license and banking information should be stored in a safe at home where only you have access. Although computers and files have become a popular place for saving and storing information, it’s also a risk if a hacker or virus manages to take over your computer.
Store Information Securely
With online banking and online bill paying available and so convenient, many of us still store private information on the Web. If you must store information on the Internet, use encryption software and never share your passwords. On the subject of passwords, use passwords that no one would guess but you.
Disposing Information Safely
Whether it’s a mobile device, your laptop or your desktop PC, these devices have a lot of storage space and can still store your private information even after you think it’s deleted. Before you give away these devices or throw them out, make sure the hard drives are wiped clean. A wipe utility program is well worth the money.
Be Careful of Friends
With social networking sites so popular today, many photos, pictures and personal information is stored online and shared with others. Sometimes, it’s even shared with people you’re not even aware of. It may sound good to say you have over 100 “friends” on your social networking site, but be careful of who you “befriend”. Absolutely do NOT share private information with someone you do not know personally and trust, nor accept emails from them.
Use Wi-Fi Safely
If you travel a lot, you may access public wireless networks. While it may make you happy that these networks are unsecure and allow you to utilize them, they’re also putting your information at risk, particularly if it’s not secured. Make sure your computer’s security system is intact and your information is protected at all times. In addition, make sure you know and trust who is using your wireless network at home.
Never underestimate the importance of good security software. Those cheap or free anti-virus programs may seem like a good idea, but do they really protect your data and personal information or just notify you AFTER you have a virus on your computer? You need good security software. In addition to using a firewall, you should use a good anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Whether you use the Internet for work, personal emails or to meet new people, you can do your part in keeping it safe and secure by following the six tips above. By doing so, you’ll also ensure your private information stays private.
This article was inspired by Celestix and written by Lizzie Weakley.