Monday, May 20, 2013

10 Ways to Safeguard your Online Identity

There are many reasons people have trouble with finances, their personal wealth, or their identities. Many times hackers cause problems for people, especially if they get an infection on their computer, have a public social networking profile, or have an open hole in their network where a hacker can break in, steal information, and take control of their computer.

My question to you...do you use the same password for everything? Do you commonly open up your personal information for the world to see? These tips will provide the understanding for you, so you know how to safeguard your online identity.

  1. Use different passwords on different websites is the number one thing to keep in mind. It is possible for hackers to be able to discover your password for one site, and try to use it on multiple sites. If done, they can gain access to your personal information, steal a lot of valuable data, post spam or hate messages using your account, and cause an unlimited amount of other problems. Avoiding these problems is highly important. Always have a good secure password for every website you surf on (which you have an account for), and make sure it is different on all sites.

    Also, don't reuse your main email password. This could complicate things a hundred times further.
  2. Always use antivirus software. It is highly important to have an antivirus program, along with a firewall and other security technology. An antivirus will run scans, remove threats, and safeguard your computer against them in the future.
  3. Stop clicking on random links. If you find some reason to click on a link, think about a reason not to click on it. Ask questions like "can I find this info somewhere else? Can I research it on a search engine? Is it important enough to click on?"
  4. Think before you post and tweet. Watch out for personal details, flaming, and other things to insert in to your messages that could put you at risk - not only physically, but also identity-wise. Be careful of the info you divulge, such as your date-of-birth, current location, your mother's maiden name, other family names, a name formerly used by yourself, social security number, and other personal pertinent information that should not be posted publicly - but rather kept secret. If someone found out your current location, they could easily come and try to do harm to you and possibly cause other problems. Especially if you share your home address. Be careful!
  5. If involved in a scam, don't assume banks pay you back. Most of the time, you get involved in a scam, you want your money back. However, the bank doesn't have to pay you back for the scam (known as a chargeback that people can request, if involved in a scam). Sometimes, it is your own stupidity that caused the scam to take effect. Be careful not to get into scams. They don't always resolve themselves easily.
  6. Have more than one email account. For best results, have more than one email account. This will help you recover a main email account, because most webmail or email providers allow you to signup with a different email address. So, whenever you've lost a password, lost access to the account, etc. - you can use the secondary account to try and recover access to your main account.
  7. Don't store credit card details on websites. If a website asks to store your credit card details, decline! If a hacker has access to that account, they can use the credit card to rack up funds and damage the wealth you have saved, if any. If you have no wealth, then they can put your bank/credit card to overdraft, raking for you a ton of fees to deal with. For best results, always enter in credit card details on a secure connection (which means that the beginning of the URL in the address bar shows "https").
  8. Lock down your phone and tablet with a password, pin, draw-a-secret, etc. Use on of these methods to lock down your phone or tablet. This keeps unwanted people out, such as hackers, your cousin, your brother or sister, your mom or dad, etc. But, remember kids, always be obedient - if your parents ask for access, let them have it.

    See also: 5 Ways to Lock Down a Tablet's Web Browser
  9. Lock down your Facebook and other social networking accounts. Put plain and simple, don't stay logged in at a public location or other location where someone may get access easily. Also, always make sure to keep certain information off of your profile, including your birth year, social security number, mother's maiden name, address, etc. Also, don't let search engines link to your timeline.
  10. Avoid adding people you don't know. If you don't know or trust  a certain person, don't send them a friend request, and don't approve friend requests. It's a porthole opening for danger to get in. If you've got many settings on your personal profile(s) that are friends only, then the unsuspecting fake account or person will have free access. Funny part is, if you accepted the friend request, you granted them free access to the information. It'll be harder to fight it in court if you said you approved the friend request. You bring your own trouble to the front door by accepting or sending friends requests of people you don't know/trust.
 Overall, it's all about common sense, proactive behavior, and thinking before you do stuff online. If you follow these tips, be assured that everything will be all right.

Any comments, questions, or suggestions for this list? Please note it below. :)


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