Protecting your identity online
Los Angeles Private Investigator
Protecting your identity online
There are many benefits that the internet can offer to its millions of users, but unfortunately it can also be used by criminals who utilize it to find and target their victims. Ensuring your online safety and protecting your online identity are both essential if you’re a frequent Internet user.
There are many types of crime that are perpetuated online, but one of the most prevalent forms is identity theft. This can be done through stealing an individual’s credit card information, personal information or creating fraudulent charges to the victim’s bank accounts. You must always take steps to ensure your online safety and these tips can help you protect your online identity.
Choosing quality passwords is a simple way to improve your online safety. The passwords you use your email, social media accounts, banking and credit cards should all be unique and created to the suggested safety standards (using a combination of at least 8 letters, numbers and symbols.) Don’t use highly obvious sequences such as qwerty, asdf or 1234 in your password, don’t make it your name or birthday, and never make it “password.” Above all, never share your passwords over email or text.
Always use a firewall on devices you use to connect to the Internet. Firewalls create a barrier between your trusted internal network and the Internet (and other untrusted external networks) and as such are an effective tool for deterring hackers.
Exercise caution when you’re opening emails. If you receive an email from an unknown sender, it’s best not to open it, and if you do open it never download any attached files. This is a very common way of infecting your device with malware and spyware that will then steal your personal information. Additionally, familiarize yourself with common scams and don’t reply to them at all. Simply report and delete the email.
Another thing to be on the lookout for are emails that imitate banks and other trusted institutions by creating a similar or nearly identical email address to the one used by the legitimate organization. Never send out any personal information over email, and if you have any reason to be concerned verify directly with the organization either by phone (use their official number listen on their website or business card, not the number that may be in the suspicious email) or if possible, in person.
4. Secure Connections Only
While browsing the Internet, pay attention to the websites you access and make sure that they have a secure connection. Websites that have a padlock symbol next to their URL and use https (not http) offer online security. They’ve been protected using encryption technology which means that you’re accessing a secure connection. Never enter personal information, especially card details on websites that don’t have a secure connection.
5. Social Media
In order to protect your identity online, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of information you add to your social media profiles. Don’t use your full name, always leave out at least your middle name or use a nickname. Married women should also avoid putting in their maiden name. Don’t add your exact location and address or your entire birthday and birthplace to your profiles as this information is often used in security questions that could be then be used by criminals to gain access to your accounts. Additionally, always choose more unusual security questions whose answers aren’t easily looked up.
6. Trust Your Gut
If you happen to stumble across a website that triggers your alarm bells, leave immediately. Run a scan of your device and delete your cookies and website data.
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