The internet is an incredibly convenient tool, but it is also a convenient way for others to gather information about you.
Exposing certain types of private information online can make it easy for someone to steal your identity. It might sound a bit far-fetched, but identity theft is not as rare as you might think. And it can cause you a great deal of financial and even legal trouble. In 2014, 17.6 million Americans were affected by identity theft, costing the economy more than $15 billion.
Here are 5 things that you are doing online that make you vulnerable to identity theft:
Having an easy password makes you vulnerable. The same goes for having the same password for all of your accounts, especially the financial ones. Also, a password shouldn’t contain your birthdate, phone number, social security number, or the names of people that you know. The inconvenient truth is that passwords that are easily remembered are easy to guess too.
A lot of websites require personal information. That doesn’t not mean you should give this information without hesitation. Giving private information automatically means that you might miss a phishing website that is trying to steal you username, password, credit card number or other sensitive information. Giving such information to a non-secure website also exposes you to identity theft risks.
Sharing private information is common on social media. We all want our friends to know when our birthday is, where we live and all the news of our most exciting life events. But sometimes we forget to make sure that this information is protected under the social media platform’s privacy settings. Though it may seem harmless, such information in the wrong hands can be used to duplicate your birth certificate, and from there it can be used to make a social security card, driver’s license, passport and more.
If you keep personal information private on social media, some people might try and find this information personally. Be careful of the kind of information you give to people that you don’t actually know.
These days when you look for a job, you send your resume via email to unknown people, or even post it on LinkedIn. This means that the information it contains may possibly fall into the wrong hands. If your resume contains your birth date or place, social security number, or any private information it can be a risk factor for identity theft. The same is true for giving such information via email to people posing as possible employers or employment agencies.
We all download songs, movies, programs and more from the internet. This exposes the computer to malware viruses that can be used to steal information from your computer.
It’s important to keep the information on your computer safe to prevent identity theft. You can do this by acquiring top antivirus software and updating it regularly to keep your computer clean from malware. Many antivirus products also maintain updated lists of malicious websites and will warn you if you attempt to access them. Check out our reviews section for all the information you need about what we consider to be the best antivirus software currently available.