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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

The Importance of Virus Protection: A Line of Defense Against Identity Theft

After you purchase a home or a car, like many other consumers, you will immediately buy an insurance plan to protect your asset. On the other hand, you might not do the same for your computer. Yet, although a computer may not have the price tag of a house or vehicle, the content stored on a system can sometimes be even more valuable than your more tangible purchases.

You may not even realize the amount of important information you keep on your computer. Between bank account and credit card details, home addresses and Social Security numbers, identity theft by means of a virus infiltrating your computer system may yield enough data for an identity thief to steal thousands of dollars from you.

That puts you in the company of many other people who don't have an effective antivirus software or fraud protection program installed on their computers to help defend against a potential infection or malware attack. In fact, according to a recent Business Software Alliance study1, roughly 20 percent of American Internet shoppers1 did not have antivirus programs on their systems, despite 96 percent saying they felt it was important to protect themselves online.

With computers being such an integral tool in today's world, it's essential that you make use of strong virus protection to guard against identity theft and to shield your credit reports and scores* from harm.

Here are a couple tips to get the most out of an antivirus program:

1. Less Can Be More. Some consumers may think installing numerous virus protection software programs increases their defense against malicious attacks. This is generally not the case. Often, having multiple antivirus programs running simultaneously on your computer results in slower processing speeds and reduced protection. In fact, the programs may interfere with one another, decreasing their effectiveness.

2. Keep Definitions Updated. Top-of-the-line virus protection can be a waste of money if you do not regularly update it with the latest virus definitions. Waiting for a convenient moment to update antivirus software is not an effective strategy. Instead, you should check for the latest definitions on a daily basis. Because identity thieves and hackers are constantly developing new ploys and schemes, it's important for you to show a similar level of diligence in defending your computer system.

Identity theft victims often incur damage to their credit reports and scores, which may inhibit them from securing financing down the road. However, by installing strong antivirus software and employing effective credit protection strategies, you may be able to reduce your risk for identity theft.

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*The scores you receive with Identity Guard® are provided for educational purposes to help you understand your credit. Lenders use many different credit scoring systems, and the scores you — receive with Identity Guard are not the same scores used by lenders to evaluate your credit.

Credit scores are provided by CreditXpert based on data from the credit reporting bureaus.

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