How to Avoid Identity Theft Online


Did you know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have had their identities stolen each year. This astounding yet realistic number is growing each and every year. With June being National Safety Month, Safelink Internet wanted to share five tips to help you stay safe online and avoid identity theft.

 

  1. Use strong passwords – Weak passwords are what identity thief’s favorite thing. Tips for using a strong password include using a sequence that is over 10 characters, excludes personal information, and has uppercase and lowercase letters. Using a password manager such as LastPass or Password Boss is a great tool to keep your passwords safe. Click here are a few hints on keeping your passwords safe.
  2. Watch out for phishing websites – These websites appear trustworthy, protected and may hide as a legitimate business. However, they are just waiting for a passerby to input personal information. Be wary of sites that ask for information such as a social security number, insurance ID number, bank account numbers, or your driver’s license information. If you aren’t sure if a website is real or not, check the main page, and do your research. Chances are you actually didn’t win that free cruise or iPad. Use resources like Web of Trust to test suspicious websites.
  3. Review your credit score – Be mindful of what is being used in your name. Check for loans or credit cards that have been opened under your social security number. The sooner you catch fraudulent information, the better.
  4. Don’t divulge on social media – This simple step is often overlooked, or not taken seriously. Be aware of what is in the background of your photos. Make sure there is no precious information such as credit cards visible. Don’t check into your bank on social media. This will alert thieves of your bank and make it easier to hack into your account and drain them.
  5. Be wary of unsecure networks – At home with Safelink Internet, you already have a secured, safe way to access your favorite websites. What about those WiFi connections you can connect to at Wal-mart, Starbucks, and other local restaurants? Think twice before joining a network that isn’t secure to do private web browsing. Check your bank information in the middle of your local coffee shop probably isn’t the wisest thing to do.

 

By consistently following the 5 steps listed above, you will be on your way to protecting yourself, and your credit score online. Remember to stay safe while browsing the web. You never know who may be watching where you input your information.