As people increasingly use the internet in their everyday lives, from communicating with friends and family to shopping for all sorts of goods, protecting their identities from online predators has become very important. With the ease in which personal information can be transmitted and displayed, the internet has become the breeding ground of criminals looking to steal the identities of others for their own personal gain.
Thankfully, there are several simple steps any internet user can take to help prevent online identity theft from occurring. Of course, you can never completely eliminate the risk, but you can at least minimize it considerably.
Use Reputable Sources
Many con artists will attempt to phish for information by imitating a reputable person or company. Some will create websites that look like they were made by real businesses; however, they are designed merely to acquire your personal information. As well, some criminals will send spam e-mail that masquerades as communications from reputable businesses, usually asking for personal information to help solve some make-believe problem.
You can mitigate such dangers by only using sites you know are trustworthy. And if you stumble upon a site with which you aren’t familiar, investigate it by reading online reviews and articles to make sure that it is reputable. Also, never send personal information through e-mail. E-mail is an insecure communication method; no reputable company will ask for credit card information, bank account numbers or passwords through e-mail.
Check Your Financial Statements
Often times, people will be unaware that they have become the victims of identity theft until they find thousands of dollars in unwanted charges on their credit cards. Unfortunately, if you wait this long, it will be more difficult to alleviate the situation. If you have online access to your credit card and bank statements, check them regularly to ensure that everything is in order. In addition, obtain copies of your credit report, perhaps the most comprehensive way of ensuring that personal identity theft has not occurred. If there are any problems, notify the bank or credit card company immediately. The next best thing to actually preventing identity theft is to ensure that the damage caused by it, if it did occur, is minimized. One way to do this is by using credit cards with low credit limits. It is much easier to dispute an incorrect credit card charge than the same charge on a debit card. This is because charges made with a debit card are immediately removed from the bank account. In addition, by using cards with a low limit, criminals will not be able to do much damage to your credit rating. So even if you can’t dispute the charges, the balance can be paid off without too much damage to the budget.
Connect securely to the Internet
When you connect to the Internet using a wireless hotspot or any public network it is easy for hackers to capture your usernames and passwords for many websites or impersonate you using tools such as firesheep. The best solution is to use a VPN service which encrypts all your traffic from your computer to the VPN servers and prevents anyone from being able to steal your identity.
This is a guest article contributed by Tanya Renu from iVPN.net, iVPN.net offers premium anonymous VPN services to privacy minded individuals including multi-hop technology and high-speed bandwidth on a pay-per-month or recurring option with a choice of anonymous payment methods to guarantee anonymity. It enforce military grade AES 256bit network encryption. iVPN network is built on Open VPN, L2TP/IPSec and supports Mac IOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android.