Online Safety and Identity Theft

In recent years, identity thieves have used technology to steal information. They have resorted to hacking company databases, sending emails with spy ware, embedding spy ware and viruses to websites and so on. So, how do you protect yourself from falling prey to identity thieves by using your computer? Read further.

Spyware is software designed to get into your computer, stay there and gather information like the websites you visit, your email address and the email addresses in your contacts and so on. How do you protect yourself from spyware? The first rule of spyware protection is by being careful what you download to your computer. Be very wary of free applications available online. Not all of them have spyware but you need to be careful when you download them. Never open emails from people you don’t know or people with misspelled email addresses and full names. These emails may contain spyware and all you need is to click on them to inform the identity thief that your email is active and is ready for attack. Sometimes these emails will contain will contain attachment like sexy pictures of your favorite actress and so on. This attachment is most likely spyware and once downloaded will be active on your computer. Make sure you scan your computer for spyware at least once a week.

You may also want to look into using a different browser. The most popular browser on the internet is Internet Explorer because it comes preinstalled on most computers worldwide. It is then not a surprise that in identity theft, opportunists target this browser when designing their spyware and viruses. Try looking at Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome as alternate browsers that you can use when visiting websites you do not frequent.

You can also protect your real email address by opening an alternate email account. You can use this account for correspondence with entities and organizations that you do not fully trust. You can also use this for online transactions like online shopping or for signing up for websites or forums. This will ensure that your real email address is left only for interaction with people and organizations that you fully trust.

The internet is a good communication tool. There is also a big number of information available online. But there are also people who are online to do damage to others for personal gain, so protect yourself from identity theft.