Protecting Yourself From Online Computer Virus Attack and Personal Identity Credit Card Data Hacking

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check list to prevent identity theft online

Don't Be a Victim: A Checklist for Preventing Identity Theft
By Brian Grouzos

Imagine waking up one day to find that everything you work hard for is compromised.  Your finances, your home, your family, everything is at risk.  Someone has taken your identity and it may take years to recover.  Nobody is completely protected.  This nightmare is very real and you could be next.  The FTC estimates that over 9 million people are the victims of identity theft every year.  Are you taking the steps necessary to make sure that you don't become a statistic?  Use the following checklist and protect yourself from identity theft today!


Separate your personal identity documents

Keeping all of your personal documents and credit cards in your wallet or purse while convenient makes life easy for criminals too.  Separate your personal identity documents and only keep the essentials on you.  Limit the number of credit cards you carry and leave your check book somewhere safe.  Most importantly, never keep your PIN with your credit and debit cards and never use something like your birthday.  It's right on your driver's license.

Shred all important documents

Anything with personally identifiable information is at risk.  This can include bank statements, credit card offers, medical claims, receipts, and benefits information.  Thieves often "dumpster dive" looking for this information.  Make sure it's in pieces when they find it.

Secure your mail box

An even better option for identity thieves is to steal your mail right from the source.  Make sure your mail box is secure, never leave mail overnight if possible, and if you're on vacation have someone collect your mail daily for you.

Watch for suspicious mail activity

Sometimes identity thieves will redirect your mail to another address to gain access to your important documents.  Be aware if your mail seems lighter than normal and important bills are missing.  Check with your post office if you suspect potential fraudulent activity with your mail.

Use secure mail boxes

When sending important information or sensitive documents, use secure mail boxes like the ones provided by the post office.  Never leave important mail out in the open for someone to walk by and steal.

Be alert to phishing emails

Never give out your usernames, passwords, account numbers, or other sensitive information through suspicious websites or emails.  Verify the URL, the information in the address bar at the top of the screen, to make sure that you are on the correct site.  Look for SSL encryption by verifying your browser security icon before providing sensitive information such as credit card numbers.  You can also check for third-party security verification such as VeriSign for confirmation that your information is secure.

Create strong passwords

Identity thieves love it when you make their life easy.  Never create passwords that are easy to break such as password, password1234, your name, or other easy to guess information.  Make your password as secure as possible by adding letters, numbers, special characters, and capital letters.  An easy to use method is making an acronym of your favorite phrase, song chorus, or other easy to remember piece of information.  Your password should look something like AnTr0@2! to make it impossible to guess and hard to crack.

Beware of social networking

Make sure you protect your social networking information.  Adjust your privacy settings appropriately to prevent unknown people from accessing your information.  Leave off anything that can be used to steal your identity such as full birthday, address, phone number, and even relationships with family members.  Be careful who you let access your network as well.  Many thieves pretend they are people you know to so be cautious if something seems off.

Monitor your statements

Keep a close-eye on bank statements, medical benefits, credit cards, and your credit report for unauthorized usage.  If you notice something suspicious tell the company immediately to confirm and take action.  Hesitation may mean a larger headache since most information doesn't post immediately.  Take action right away

Close unused accounts

Make sure to close unused credit and bank accounts to prevent someone from quickly charging up your limit without you knowing.  Monitor these accounts if you insist on keeping them open to make sure there is no suspicious activity as well.

Be cautious of promotional offers

Thieves often use promotional offers to secure personally identifiable information.  Make sure if you're giving your information to someone for any reason that you fully trust them and they are who they are representing.  If the offer sounds too good to be true, it just might be.

If you feel you have been the victim of identity theft, inform your local police department.  You will also need to contact any companies involved such as credit bureaus, banks, insurance companies, etc.  If necessary, file an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  Visit their website for more information about protecting your identity and the steps to take if you are a victim.



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Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Dont-Be-a-Victim:-A-Checklist-for-Preventing-Identity-Theft&id=7374382] Don't Be a Victim: A Checklist for Preventing Identity Theft

Two things to bear in Mind while we talk about Protecting yourself Online in order to Prevent Online Identity Theft and being Victim of Cyber-Criminals:

A. Keep in mind that antivirus software protects only your device, not your internet connection. It’s only Secured and Protected Virtual Private Network, VPN can securely protect your internet connection communications between your computer device, servers and websites.

B. A VPN is a must-have utility to protect your privacy and prevent hackers and snoopers from stealing your personal information.