Spring is here and as nature turns over a new leaf, so should you, by making sure you are taking steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from identity theft.According to Javelin Strategy and Research, someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds. In an increasingly digital world it is becoming easier for criminals to get their hands on identifying information that could easily be used for fraud. Even people who believe they are actively working to protect themselves and keep their information secure should regularly check that they are using the best methods to avoid identity theft.
Here are a few tips to help you out this spring:
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), IP hiders, HTTPS connections and encryption extensions all make your online browsing time a little safer.
VPNs enable computers or smartphones to send and receive data across public networks as if they were directly connected to a private network, allowing them to benefit from the functionality, security and management policies of the private network. IP hiders shield your IP address while you conduct online activities, while HTTPS connections are protocols for secure communication over a computer network.
Encryption extensions are handy tools that can help you protect certain information that you put on the internet. If you are trying to email sensitive information, you can use Google’s Quick Encrypt to create a common password that will quickly encrypt and decrypt information. Google lists the following example email: “Hey P.J., Attached is my alarm code. The password is your dog’s name. Thanks for watching the house while I am gone.”
Secret and Disposable Email Addresses
Many of us use a single email address to link all of our online accounts — after all, we have enough passwords to remember without adding a bunch of email usernames to the pile too. However, a single secret email can help protect particularly sensitive services, such as e-commerce and internet banking. Even if a thief gains access to your main account they won’t be able to retrieve banking or financial information. It’s also a good idea to consider a separate email for all your social media accounts, since many id thieves start there when looking for email information.
Disposable email addresses are also a way to combat identity theft. Signing up for online services can put your main email address at risk of third-party phishing scams and fraudulent campaigns. Instead, use a disposable email that you can check once or twice, for example to respond to “email verification” requests on websites, and then forget about. Any spam will target that email and not your main account.
You have probably heard this tip over and over but it bears repeating. Passwords are often the one obstacle between a thief and your information so it pays to be thorough. Don’t use a single password on all (or even a few) of your accounts, don’t use your name or a well-known date (like a wedding anniversary or your birthdate) and always change the default. Password123 might be easy to remember but it’s also the kind of password that sends thieves into a fit of giggles. Complexity is key to keeping your password safe. Use unique passwords on all your accounts and use a password organizing software to keep a list in case you forget your login information.
Protecting your identity is about staying vigilant and using every security measure available to you. Online id theft is rampant, making it more important than ever to make sure you and your family are staying secure.