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Cyber Identity Theft... 
How to Protect Against This Threat

Cyber identity theft is just one of the things that can result from the wrong people getting their hands on your personal information via the web. Unfortunately, identity theft has only been made easier by the rise of the internet and other web-based technology.

With all kinds of information about all kinds of things at the tip of your mouse, you can learn anything about nearly anything in a matter of seconds. For the computer whiz with an evil bent, the internet becomes a playground for hacking and all kinds of crime.

Privacy Precautions

Protecting yourself from cyber identity theft is vital. There are some things you can do to protect yourself. First of all, use good judgement online.

Don’t post everything about yourself on Facebook or MySpace, or any other networking site.

If you shop online, make sure that you see the little lock on the bottom of the page before entering your name/address/credit card info. The padlock indicates that the page is secure--but keep in mind that ultimately, nothing you put online is completely, totally secure.

onlooker stealing personal information

Watch for Suspicious Activity

  • If you bank online, check your account daily to make sure the charges to your account are yours. If you suspect a breach of your account, credit, or identity, act immediately. Put a stop on all checks being cashed, on your credit cards, and contact a credit reporting agency.
  • Beware of phishing scams - emails that appear to be from reputable companies but are actually fakes.
  • DO NOT respond to emails asking for personal information (account numbers, user names and passwords, etc.). If you have a question, it is best to call your bank rather than to trust unusual emails or texts.

Computer Security Precautions

Other ways to help protect yourself from cyber identity theft include utilizing anti-virus software on your computer. Some hackers use spy-ware to install software that will collect your personal information, and anti-virus programs can alert you to these types of problems.

If you work on a shared computer, NEVER leave the computer without logging off. Do not use the "remember my password" option on shared computers.

Do not do personal work if somebody is hanging over your shoulder or is in close enough proximity to see your information or watch your keystrokes.

The best guide for protecting yourself is your own judgement and common sense--follow your instincts!

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