Ensure you don't become a victim of identity theft
As a consumer you are at risk of Identity Theft if you are not aware and dont take precautions. Here is a checklist of things that will help avoid this:
1. Setting up your Browser
Most browsers will let you set the security level of your connections. If you're using Internet Explorer, click on Tools in the task bar, go to Internet Options and set your level of security. Try to set this to as high a standard as you can.
Place a firewall on your computer. This quite often comes with your software on your computer. A firewall is a system or gateway that prevents unauthorized access to your computer. It is usually the first line of defense in protecting your private information or data. A good firewall will help protect you from malicious attacks of spyware, adware, malware, worms, trojans, and hackers.
Our Solution: BullGuard
3. Anti-Virus Software
Get a good anti-virus software program that will help protect your computer against spyware, adware, malware and so on. Purchasing such a program that is updated regularly will save you money in the long run and will add an extra layer of protection for your PC.
Our Solution: BullGuard
4. Your Vital Information
Don't store your vital information (credit card numbers, family information, passwords, etc.) on your personal computer, instead store it on CDs or floppy disks or on a computer that is not connected to the Internet. If you are going to eneter your information make sure you see the 'Green Bar' or security certificate in the website address line. Ideally you should use software that protects this information and secures it on your computer.
Our Solution: ID-Vault (FREE)
5. Using Passwords
If you use passwords, make sure they are hard-to-guess passwords. You should have passwords that are at least eight characters long — consisting of a mixture of numbers, upper case and lower case letters. Many security experts suggest changing your passwords regularly.
Never open emails from people you don't know. Especially, don't open any attachments until they are properly scanned for viruses and spyware. See the latest scam alerts from WebSense.
Be aware of phishing — this is where you get an official looking (though fake) email from companies that you may be doing business with — never use a link in these emails to provide personal information. Always open a new browser window and type in your 'own' links you have for these companies or sites. Most secure connections will start with "https://" and look for the 'Green Bar' to ensure that the company has been verified by a Security Company like VeriSign.
Regularly check your operating system and download any updates that may contain security patches and fixes for your PC. This should be done automatically by the operating system vendor.
Use an encryption service if you can. This will help in protecting your vital data from prying eyes.
Our Solution: ID-Vault
10. Shutdown after Use.
Always shut down your computer when its not in use — especially if you have a cable Internet connection. And make sure you know who is using your computer.
This is not a complete list to ensure total security, but make it hard for the hackers and phishers to get hold of your identity.