Protect Yourself From Identity Theft Online

When identity theft online happens, it can be several months before you are aware that anything has happened. This makes it much more dangerous than other types of theft. If someone steals your wallet, or your car, you notice it immediately, and can start to take steps to protect yourself. When someone plants a cookie on your computer, you don't even notice it. Each time you visit a site, send an email, or use your credit card online, all the information is delivered to the eager hacker. From there, he can either use the information himself, or sell it online to anyone with the cash and the desire for an alternate identity. A recent report from a major internet security firm estimates that the value of all your personal identity data is about $18 US, and can be purchased on a number of internet sites.

A number of computer programs are available to help you protect yourself from identity theft on the internet. If you are considering purchasing a program to make your computer more secure, take the time to do the research before investing your hard-earned money. You want a program that is frequently updated. The identity theft hackers are constantly working on ways to out smart these types of programs, and you want one that is working just as hard to protect you. Once you decide on the right program, be sure that you don't ignore the messages to download the latest upgrades. If you ignore these messages, you are refusing to keep your computer secure.

It is also a good idea to frequently change your passwords to any sites that hold your personal information. Use a combination of letters and numbers, and don't use phone numbers, addresses, or birthdates for your passwords. Also, if you share your computers with others, or use the internet at work, do not check the remember this password prompt. This is an open invitation for anyone else that uses the computer to have full access to all your information.

If you suspect that you have become a victim of online identity theft, there are a few steps to take immediately. You will need to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This tells creditors to take extra steps before opening any new credit accounts in your name. Next, you should close any accounts that you know were opened fraudulently, or have been tampered with. Also, notify your local police, and file a report with them. They will want information about how and where you think the identity theft took place. You can use the History button on your internet browser to track websites you visited recently. This will help to narrow down the suspect sites.

Identity theft online is quickly becoming a threat to all internet users. Once you become a victim, your life, and your credit rating will never be the same. Take steps today to prevent identity theft on the internet from happening to you and your family.

Want to learn more?

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