*Protecting Your Identity Online

Identity theft

Online security is something I take seriously. I have friends who have had their accounts hacked and have then had to prove they are the account owner in order to get their account back. Knowing that someone has had access to your account and details whether it be e-mail, Twitter or Facebook is a horrible thought.

There are precautions  you can take to protect yourself from online threats, here are 5 tips on protecting your identity online:

  1. Create a separate work and personal e-mail address. Be e-mail savvy – If you have received an e-mail from someone you don’t know do not open it. E-mails with attachments could potentially contain malware. There is an abundance of e-mail scams on the internet so if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.

  2. Use a firewall. Most often computers come with an in built firewall but there are many good firewalls that are free.

  3. Set your profiles to private. Facebook privacy settings are set to public automatically so ensure you go to your settings to customise your profile settings.

  4. When making online purchases make sure the website is using a secure link. The address for a secured website should start with ‘https’ the s is an indication that the website is secure. Many websites also show a small padlock icon to indicate the website is secure. When making an online purchase check that the companies details are genuine before placing an order.

  5. Protect all of your devices with a password. Use a password that contains numbers as well as lower and upper-case letters. Use different passwords for your accounts and do not use anything obvious, date of birth, pets name etc. Do not make it easy for criminals to access your details.

One thing I do struggle with is remembering all of my passwords. I use several different passwords for different accounts. This morning I struggled to log into my Facebook account as it kept informing me I had entered the wrong password, I tried around 4/5 different password combinations I use until I relented and reset my password.

In a recent survey conducted by Ladbrokes Bingo a huge 42% of people couldn’t remember all of their online passwords. Depending on how many passwords you have to remember it can be an almost impossible task to remember them all but it is paramount that you use passwords to deter criminals and protect your details.

I was shocked to read that 1 in 4 of the 50 million UK mobile phone users don’t protect their device with a password according to research commissioned by Experian CreditExpert. The study also revealed there has been a huge 33 percent increase in the number of fraud incidents investigated in the last year. If you want more information on how to stop identity fraud you might find this video helpful.

Do not shy away from being online, just be cautious.


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