Anyone who uses the internet is vulnerable to various viruses and threats. Many of these viruses are designed to extract and save the personal information of online users. Scam artists then use this information to commit identity theft. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways that internet users can protect themselves against this crime.
1. Use an Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software programs are designed to protect computers from spyware, adware and viruses. If a computer has an anti-virus software installed, it will be very difficult for scam artists to spy on web users. This product stops viruses from scanning the hard drive or web browser for credit card information and other personal data.
2. Install a Firewall
The modern computer comes with a firewall program. Those who have older machines will have to install a firewall themselves. This program alerts computer users when an outside source tries to access their computer. It also protects the system from unauthorized flows of data.
3. Approach Emails Cautiously
One of the most common ways to download a virus is to open an unknown email attachment. Internet users should not open attachments unless they know who sent the message. It is important to be aware that scam artists are now crafting their emails to appear as though they are from trusted websites. However, most banks or prominent companies will never send emails with attachments. Nor will they request a password via email.
4. Do Not Give Out Social Security Numbers to Untrusted Sources
Many are people are unaware of the importance of their social security number. If a scam artist gets their hands on this number, they can easily find out sensitive financial information. Consumers should be aware that reputable online stores will not ask their customers for their social security number.
5. Diversify Account Passwords
A recent study has disclosed some alarming facts about internet users and their passwords. Many people use simple passwords that can easily be guessed. Some examples of these are “password” and “password1”. Unfortunately, these web users also use the same password for every website they use. This is not wise as scam artists can obtain these passwords without much difficulty. Once they have the password, they will be able to access websites posing as the web user. This can be avoided by choosing a complex password. Good passwords are difficult to guess and have a combination of letters and numbers. Ideally, people will use different passwords for different websites. This will give them extra protection if one of their passwords is compromised.
Identity theft which has the potential to ruin lives. Many victims of this crime have found that their credit rating has affected. This has impacted their ability to get work and housing. They have also found it difficult to get approved for a loan. Due to the serious consequences of identity theft, all internet users should take the precautions discussed above. It may also be worthwhile getting a quality alarm system. Some people use online data to organize burglaries.