7 Ways to Identify and Prevent Identity Theft Online

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Keys for password protection and safety software with personal firewall and anti-phishing features can help prevent identity theft and other cyber threats.

Hello, my name is Alison Rhodes, and I’m going to share some tips for how to protect you and your family against identity theft. Last year alone, more than 12 million identify fraud victims were reported in the U.S. It’s a serious problem, but there are some easy ways to protect you and your family. I’ll cover three things today. One, basic security measures. Two, social media risks. And three, identifying and avoiding phishing attempts.

The first identity crime took place long before the invention of the internet, but in recent years the number of cases has grown exponentially as people share more and more personal information online. There are some basic steps you should take to protect yourself. First, password-protect the log-on for all your devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets. Second, for online accounts, use strong passwords with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numerals and punctuation. And don’t use the same password everywhere you go. Use one of the many digital password-keeping applications available, or keep your passwords written down in a safe place at home. Third, consider using software like ESET Smart Security with a personal firewall and anti-phishing features to reinforce your network connections and protect sensitive information.

Social media services are a fun way to interact with the world. Knowing some of the dangers of using this technology will help you fully enjoy it. Sites like Facebook and Twitter encourage users to share personal information, and these places are popular targets for cybercriminals. Beware of imposter accounts, unusual messages, and friend requests from people you don’t know. If your family spends time interacting online, consider adopting security software with social media security like ESET Smart Security to give you protection from the threats that come with social media. Social media scanning software like ESET’s will notify you when malicious links are detected on your profile or the profile of one of your friends. It also shows you what Facebook apps have access to your personal information. In addition to installing security software, set ground rules for how much time your kids are allowed to spend online and which social media services they may use. Teach them to value their privacy and protect information like email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers. These steps plus many more can be found in the interactive ESET Cybersecurity Training module.

Cybercriminals use many methods to steal your personal files or plant malicious code. One of the most common tactics is called phishing. Phishing is a cybercrime tactic that involves baiting victims in order to steal money or transmit malware, often seen in the form of strange links, unexpected messages and phony sites. You or your kids could be tricked into clicking a malicious link or sharing sensitive information. Don’t take the bait. Be wary of cryptic websites and unexpected personal messages. It’s fairly easy to disguise links. Be careful of abbreviated URLs, as they can hide the true destination. To see where a link will take you, teach your family to hover the mouse cursor over the link without clicking. The true destination URL will display in the lower left corner of your browser. Also, you should strongly consider using internet security software such as ESET Smart Security to enhance antiphishing protection for you and your family. Your identities are too valuable to lose online.

Identity theft is a real danger, but it doesn’t have to happen to you or your family. By keeping your technology protected with antivirus software like ESET Smart Security, practicing safety with social media, and avoiding phishing attempts, you are well on your way to keeping your identity secure. This is Alison Rhodes with ESET. Stay safe.

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