Identity theft is the one the fastest growing crimes in America and with the dawn of the Internet, it is much easier for criminals to take advantage. It involves criminals stealing your personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and other information usually to buy things on credit. Some create fake websites that when visited will make you enter some personal information. This could lead to identity theft. Identity theft cases have occurred due to online intrusions. This type of crime is a pretty serious offense, but by applying some safety precautions it can be prevented.
Here are some ways to avoid online identity theft:
- Do not simply give personal information on unsecured websites - Internet users usually store personal information like username, password and other personal particulars on websites that they regularly visit, and that information will be used when the person returns to the same website. Identity thieves to steal vital information from you can use this. Keeping your personal information from falling into the wrong hands will help you in becoming another identity theft victim.
- Install a very good anti-virus in your computer system - One of the ways that criminals get a hold of your personal information like credit card numbers and passwords are using some advanced Trojan horse viruses. These viruses can log your keystrokes and transmit the information back to them. A very good anti-virus program can detect this kind of viruses and remove them permanently out of your system.
- Use a secure server - when transmitting credit card information, always make sure that you are using a secure server. You can feel safe if you can see a little lock display in the status bar at the bottom of your browser. Look for the "https" at the beginning of the URL address, since this means it is accessing a secure server called SSL or Secure Socket Layer.
- Be aware of spam messages in your email inbox - emails that false claims to be part of an established legitimate organization in order to lure you into surrendering your private information like credit card numbers that can be used for identity theft. The email will direct you to an unsecured website to update your information. This will be their chance to get your private information. Clear your spam messages as much as possible.
- Never give out information such as birthday, marital status, educational level and other information- this makes it easy for criminals to make themselves appear legitimate when they pose as you. Websites should ultimately only require you to provide name, email address and billing information for a purchase.
- Do not enter personal information when using a public computer - if you are in a library or Internet café, do not access your bank accounts or other financial websites with your personal information on them. This is a great way for thieves to get people's personal information.
- Use passwords that are not easily guessed - when creating passwords for websites on which your personal information will be stored, such as email, shopping sites, use passwords that are hard to guess. Use random upper and lower case letters and numbers in sequence of eight or more for maximum security.
You do not have to be James Bond to keep your identity safe. If you will just be careful enough and remember these simple ways, you will feel more secure in making online transactions.