Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Protect Yourself Against Online Identity Theft

By Shelley Lindt

Life is much easier for many of us these days because of the internet. There's a wealth of information available to you, you can talk to people just about everywhere, and it makes it easy to transmit documents. However, all these benefits come with some potential problems. Thieves are also taking advantage of the easy availability of information by accessing your private data.

Many people these days keep a lot of sensitive information stored on their PDAs, laptops and desktop computers. Private information related to bank accounts and credit cards, as well as the associated passwords, are often stored on these devices. It isn't hard to imagine the harm that can be done to your credit standing if an identity thief steals these electronic goldmines. Another way to grab the information he wants is to hack into your computer from a distance and dig out any useful information.

Here are some tips for identity theft protection that might help you to avoid this disastrous situation.

1) Block unauthorized access to your computer by requiring a password in order to log in. This includes your laptop and PDA as well.

2) Change your computer settings so it doesn't automatically remember your passwords. A lot of people have chosen the convenience of having their computer remember their passwords and enter them automatically. But it also makes it awfully easy for an identity thief to log in to your accounts.

3) On a regular basis, change your passwords.

4) Use antivirus software, and make sure it's always running. These programs can keep hackers from infiltrating your system and stealing your information.

5) File sharing is another danger area. If your computer is set up to allow the transfer of information between two computers, you're more vulnerable to hacking.

6) Phishing is among the fastest growing methods of illegally collecting confidential information. Typically, you will receive an email that appears to be sent by a legitimate organization. When you follow the link, you'll be requested to enter your password. This information is then captured and used to take over your identity.

In response to the increased problem of identity theft, many institutions now offer identity theft insurance. These policies typically cover any expenses you incur related to the theft of your identity. Postage, the cost of phone calls, and related legal fees are all usually covered. It can also cover lost wages if you have to take time off work to deal with all the issues that will arise. If you don't think you could deal with these kinds of costs on your own, your best bet is to take out some coverage.

About the Author:
These days, nobody is safe from identity theft. It is one of the fastest growing crimes internationally. And it can happen to you. Visit Identity Theft Protection to learn how to protect yourself.


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