Internet commerce has become big business in recent years. Unfortunately, internet identity theft has risen in numbers right along with the legitimate business. The reason that internet identity theft has become a problem is that cyberspace is an environment that contains many loopholes for the unscrupulous to break in and obtain personal information that can be used for illegal activity.
Consumers are often at a disadvantage, since the average computer user lacks the knowledge of electronic systems to properly protect himself from the sinister yet computer savvy mind of the internet identity thief. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to guard against becoming a victim of internet identity theft.
The virtual world is sometimes remarkably parallel to the real world. The virtual thief wants the same thing the thief in the real world wants – to gain access to your personal information so that he can create a new identity with the information and use that identity for his own illegal gain. Just as you would take certain precautions when walking alone in a potentially dangerous area, you should exercise care when venturing out alone in the world of cyberspace.
Internet Identity Theft can often be Prevented
Your first line of defense against internet identity thieves should be the password you use to access your accounts on various sites. As challenging as it may be to remember various passwords, using a unique password each time is helpful in preventing hackers from discovering patterns to your computer usage.
Changing your passwords regularly, not necessarily frequently, can also protect sensitive material. Never set your system to “remember my password” for any access, since a user name can be fairly simple to figure out. Even if it seems inconvenient, type your password into the site every single time you want access.
Anti-virus software and firewall are absolute musts for the computer users who live in cyberspace. Not only should these be installed on your personal computer, they should be updated without fail, since the internet identity thief is constantly looking for ways around this built-in security. These software updates are your first line of defense against worms, viruses, and many other undesirable elements from permeating your precious PC.
Do not ever offer information to unsolicited sources, even if the email states that it is coming from your financial institution or internet service provider. This process is called “phishing”, and it involves computer hackers attempting to hook you into giving out account numbers or other information that can later be used against you. In a case such as this, you are the first line of defense against internet identity theft by being smart and staying cautious.
No one likes to be the victim of a crime. Internet identity theft can be as difficult to overcome as other types of robbery. Fortunately, there are also steps you can take to help prevent it.