Tips for protection against online identity theft

A recent study showed that while consumers recognize the importance of online privacy and security, most are not taking important protective measures to help guard their personal information.

To help educate and inform social network users, ProtectMyID offers these tips for protection against online identity theft:

Review and customize security settings – Research your social network’s default account settings and make sure to customize your personal privacy settings in order to only share information with people you choose. Approximately 65 percent of users do not use a high privacy or security setting.

Review the privacy policy – Make sure to thoroughly review the privacy policy of any social networking site before using the site in order to understand how your data can be accessed and shared. More than 90 percent of individuals do not do so, according to the study.

Pick a password that can’t be cracked – Do not choose a password that incorporates common information, such as a pet’s name or your hometown. Approximately 40 percent of those surveyed said they use a password known to individuals other than themselves.

Log off when you leave – Always log off or enable a secure screen saver when you are away from your computer or it is not in use. More than 80 percent of respondents leave their computers unsecured.

Install and update antivirus software – Make sure that your computer has antivirus software that is always up-to-date in order to maximize protection against keystroke loggers and other malware commonly used for identity theft. Nearly 70 percent of respondents stated that they do not use any form of antivirus protection on their computer.

Make sure your wireless network connection is secure. If you are operating on a wireless network, always make sure that the network is secure to avoid exposing your personal information while it is in transmission. Approximately 75 percent of individuals said that they use an unsecured network.

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