7 Tips for Protecting Your Identity Online

Although the internet makes our lives easier, it also exposes us to several risks. One major risk we can encounter is identity theft.

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. This can include usernames, passwords, banking information, your Social Security Number, and other information that can be used to identify you.

Here are seven tips that can help make sure your identity isn’t an easy pick for cybercriminals.

1) Encrypt Your Internet Traffic

Being tracked online is a common occurrence in this day and age.  Your internet service provider (ISP) will use this tracking to improve your customer experience and work with advertisers you may be interested in. Hackers, on the other hand, use the data to access your accounts or do serious financial harm.

Encrypt your internet traffic using a virtual private network (VPN), especially when using a public network. A VPN encrypts any information you send online.

When a hacker (or ISP) checks your internet, all they can see is a stream of encrypted data exchange between you and your VPN server. As a result, they won’t be able to decipher the information you are transmitting while you’re online.

2) Don’t Overshare on Social Media Platforms

Social media can provide other pieces of information identity thieves can use to impersonate you. You know how you sometimes set security questions when creating a new account? Answers to these questions are commonly found in your social media. Things like your birthday, mother’s maiden name, dog’s name, or other seemingly unimportant information can be used to exploit password recovery functionality.

3) Safely Dispose of Your Personal Information

If you’re planning to sell your devices or give them to someone else, ensure you’ve wiped off all your personal information. If you’re disposing of a personal computer or laptop, wipe off the hard drive. Use a utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.

In the case of a mobile phone, check the device manual or visit the manufacturer’s website to find information on how to delete personal data. If you have a new device, you can transfer data from your old device.

Remove the memory card or SIM card from your mobile device. Delete the contact list, calls made, and messages that you sent or received.

4) Don’t Take the Bait

Fraudsters and identity thieves tend to use phishing techniques a lot. They create fake websites that mimic the sites you like to visit. Once you visit these fake sites, they can steal your personal information and use it for personal gain.

They can also send you phishing emails. Phishing emails look convincing and impersonate trustworthy sources like a bank, government agency, and so on. These emails encourage you to give personal information, often under the pretext of some urgent need. If you receive an email like this, don’t take the bait! If anything looks suspicious, log in through the website or app rather than the email.

5) Be Careful When Using Wi-Fi

Public wi-fi in coffee shops and other places can help lower your data usage. But it’s also notorious for allowing criminals to exploit flaws and steal personal data.

It’s wise to stick to your data when browsing in a public place. If you need to access something urgently and don’t have data, ensure your device has a VPN before connecting to public Wi-Fi.

6) Use Strong Passwords

Weak passwords make it easier to hack your online accounts, especially if you use the same password for more than one service. Once a hacker or scammer cracks your password, they can access your sensitive information and make unauthorized transactions.

To avoid such issues, create a long and strong password that doesn’t relate to your personal information. Instead of passwords, you can create “passphrases”, which are longer and more complex. Consider using a password manager that helps you create, update, and save passwords for all your online accounts. Another way to add an extra layer of protection is to activate two-factor authentication for logging in. This extra step may seem like a hassle, but it makes it virtually impossible for a thief to access your accounts!

7) Use Anti-Malware Software

Get powerful anti-malware software for your laptop and computer. Anti-malware can offer you comprehensive security against the latest threats and malware. It can help keep you safe online from hackers trying to access your data.

United Medicare Advisors wants you to stay safe and healthy in all areas of your life — even online. That’s why we’ve partnered with IdentityIQ services to provide comprehensive identity theft protection to you. Get a discount on credit monitoring, ID theft monitoring, and more by signing up through this link.

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