Protecting yourself online is very important. You must take every precaution to protect your identity and your finances. Over-sharing online is a common mistake that many people make that gets them into trouble. This article outlines five things that you can do to protect yourself online.
1. Change your passwords regularly
Most people don’t change their passwords until there is a story in the news about a major hacking that’s taken place. Instead of waiting for something to happen make it a habit to change your password every season. Set a reminder on your calendar if that helps you to remember. It’s important to change passwords often because so much sensitive information is kept online. Try not to reuse passwords and don’t use the same password for more than one of your accounts.
2. Don’t use your full name
Never include your middle name when you create an online account of any kind. There is no reason that you need to list your full name online. If you do happen to share a name with someone else, you can use your middle initial to differentiate yourself.
3. Post photos privately
Stealing photos online is very easy and extremely common. You don’t want someone to steal your photos and use them as profile photos for themselves. People who catfish are notorious for doing that. If you post photos of your children, you definitely want to protect those photos and even limit how many you post online. No one wants to believe anything bad will happen as a result of posting their photos, but it happens every day.
4. Be cautious
If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank, look into it before you automatically reply and give your banking or credit card information to a potential identity thief. Remember that your bank will never, ever email you asking for your card information. Whenever you get an email from a bank that looks like yours, call your bank and ask about it. Never log into your bank account from an email you receive. Do it directly from the website itself. If your bank emailed you, the email will appear in your account as well.
5. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware up-to-date
Identity thieves can use viruses and other malicious programs to steal information from your computer. Never open emails or click on links included in them that appear suspicious. Once you click a malicious link, the damage is done. Your contacts and personal information can be accessed and used to harm you and others.
Protecting yourself online doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated. Much of it is about common sense and internet smarts. There are so many scam artists and impersonators online that you need to be careful about the things that you post and where you post them.