1. Watch out for Phishing Websites
A Phishing website is one that presents itself as a legitimate business website however in reality is a fake one looking for your information. They may look for a username and password but also could be looking for your name, social security number, address, and other personal information. Be vigilant if a site asks for the following information:
- Social Security number
- Credit card number
- Bank account number
- Driver’s license number
- Home address and phone number
- Health insurance id or information
The request for information could be legit (for example, if you are applying for a credit card); but if it was unsolicited that should be a big red flag. If you have a question whether the site is a real one for a company, visit the organization’s main web page and call their number to ask.
2. Use an Anti-virus/Anti-Malware Program
Backdoors, keyloggers and other nefarious programs can allow entry to your system and they can be installed in any number of ways. The only way to be sure to protect against them is to install both anti-virus and anti-malware; vendors these days often have solutions which include both. For a current list of our top recommended anti-virus and anti-malware programs,
3. Use OpenDNS
While OpenDNS is a great way to speed up your internet connection it also has a feature that is less sexy but definitely more practical. That is that OpenDNS makes a great content filtering solution which can alert you when you visit a website which has been marked as dangerous by the awesome Phishtank service.
4. Unique Passwords for Every Website
Another method criminals may use to obtain your personal information is by logging into your email and other online accounts and glean information from there. That is the reason that it is so important to maintain password security across all of your online accounts. Generating a secure password is the first step to prevent identity theft by keeping your accounts secure, and then Lastpass or Keepass will assist you in remembering them.
5. Shop Only at Reputable Websites
While one of the reasons that the internet is so great is that you can find sites that sell about everything, how do you know that a company will keep your information secure? You might check to see if the site is safe using one of the link checkers we mentioned or run it by the Web of Trust who also provides a browser plugin.