Internet is part of everyone’s life whether it be at the home, office or a public place. With plenty of things to do online such as checking emails, downloading files, streaming movies, and socializing, the risk of losing your identity is not alien.
The moment you connect to the internet, the chances of being exposed to hackers and scammers become twice as usual. Unless your service provider is providing you with a security suite, the chances of cyber-attacks, phishing, and malware are quite high. For instance, Spectrum bundles, Cox bundles, as well as AT&T bundles offer free security suites to keep your identity protected and safe. Make sure to install the security suite by following the steps mentioned on their respective websites.
In the United States, cyber threats have become widespread, which has forced the government to establish a department designated to introduce technology and make policies to reduce potential threats.
Here are some of the stats revealing the identity thefts taken place over the years.
- 4 million Internet users were victims of identity theft in 2019.
- Overall 33% of the United States population have experience identity theft, which is more than double compared to the average worldwide.
- Kids are 51 times more like to become a victim of identity thefts as compared to adults
- A loss of over $400 million was reported by consumers due to COVID-19 scams and identity fraud since the pandemic hit
The top five states who were reported for identity theft ranked by several reports are:
- Rhode Island
After considering the above statistics and figures, the situation is quite alarming. It means that you could be a victim of identity theft sooner or later. But before that happens, several steps could help prevent your identity theft online. Here’s how to protect you and your family from identity theft without having prior knowledge. Stay tuned and read completely if you want to be safe.
Strong Passwords can Keep Your Identity Protected
One of the easiest and most ignored methods to protect one’s identity is to choose a strong password. Most of the people are so lazy that they don’t even bother to think of any name other than their home address, their dog’s name, or their favorite team’s name.
Here is the point when everything goes wrong and people offer a free invitation to stalkers, scammers, and hackers to steal an identity. There are plenty of ways to choose a strong password whenever signing up to a website. Especially when it comes to websites and apps that involve financial transactions such as banking apps, you need to be very careful.
Search on Google password generator and click on any website displayed on the first page. Visit any of them and pick a password. You can change and alter as per your liking, but don’t make it too easy to guess. Write down the password on a separate text file saved on your computer rather than the cloud.
Verify Website/App Encryption
Nowadays, most people prefer to do financial transactions online through an app or website due to convenience and to avoid long queues. However, making online transactions should not be taken lightly as there are plenty of things to look for.
For instance, before making any transaction, identify whether the website or app is encrypted or not. Don’t worry you don’t need to involve yourself in coding or technical knowledge. All you need to do is to look for a URL. If the HTTP is followed by the word “s”, making it HTTPS, then the website is secure. Moreover, you will also find a lock symbol before the HTTPS, which indicates the security of the website. If any of these signals are missing, make sure to quit the website as soon as possible.
Add Websites to Blacklist
In recent times, online transactions have gained hype due to the influx of banking websites, shopping stores, and other apps. If you are purchasing a product from a reputed store, the chances of identity theft are negligible. However, if you are purchasing outside of your favorite stores, make sure to verify its encryption as discussed above. But if the website is not safe to visit, make sure to blacklist the website as soon as possible. This way no one from your home can visit the store accidentally.
Password Protect Your Wi-Fi
Most of the homes and offices are equipped with Wi-Fi devices to use the internet across all devices. However, giving open access to everyone without entering the password might put your identity under threat.
When a Wi-Fi network is not password protected, anyone can access it within the range. Now it depends on how lucky you are because it could be anyone from a kid next door to a hacker trying to steal your private information.
A hacker might access your Wi-Fi network and steal information stored on your computer. To avoid this, you need to password protect your Wi-Fi before using it. Moreover, don’t use the default password given at the back of the box. Try using your password and give no chance to hackers to get into the system.
Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Most of the time, you are away from your home. That means you are dependent on your mobile data or have to rely on public Wi-Fi to access the internet without bearing the extra cost. But using things for free could cost you identity theft, which is by no means acceptable.
If you are on the move most of the time and rely heavily on public Wi-Fi, make sure to install a virtual private network on your device. The biggest advantage of using a VPN is that it hides your IP address, which allows you to browse the web without revealing your identity.
Moreover, Virtual Private Network is also helpful in accessing area restricted content, which mainly includes streaming services and other websites. Make use of a VPN when making a transaction online to avoid exposing your information to hackers.
Protecting your identity over the internet is not as tough as people might think. The aforementioned tips could help you to hide and protect your identity while making transactions, shopping online, or surfing websites.