Five Easy Steps – PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY ONLINE

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. According to data compiled by Zone Alarm, maker of antivirus and firewall software, identity theft results in an average cost to victim of $4,841 and takes, on average, 33 hours to resolve. With more and more of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect yourself online.

Buyer Beware: For as little as $30 in web hosting fees, criminals can set up fake online shop fronts to lure computer users into submitting their Identity Protection -Nerds On Call Computer repairpersonal information and credit account numbers.  Be wary of online retailers that you’ve never heard of, particularly if they’re offering a popular item at a lower-than-expected price.

If you can’t resist the deal, contact your credit card company to inquire if they offer one-time-use card numbers that you can use for vendors you don’t trust, or consider using a Visa or Mastercard gift card to protect your permanent account number. Never supply unnecessary personal information like your social security number, driver’s license number, or date of birth when completing an online retail transaction.

Pump up your password: We know, here at Nerds On Call Computer Repair we sound like a broken record with this one. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans using the most popular passwords, such as “password,” “trustno1,” “abc123,” “monkey” or “letmein” (for the top 25 worst passwords, check out the list at SplashData: http://splashdata.com/press/pr121023.htm), you’re putting yourself at risk. Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData (a provider of password management applications) explains, “Hackers can easily break into accounts just by repeatedly trying common passwords.” He recommends using an online password management tool. A favorite is Lastpass (https://lastpass.com/) which can create and store unique, difficult to crack passwords for every site you visit online.

Secure your Smartphone: As more people acquire Smartphones, our personal information is going mobile. With instant access to email, social media accounts and often banking and credit account logins, Smartphones are an identity thief’s goldmine. Make sure that you password-protect the home screen to make it a little harder for a would-be criminal to access your data.

Consider storing account numbers and personal data that you regularly access (like bank account and passport numbers or alarm codes) in a cloud-based data vault program like that offered by Personal (www.personal.com/, free for iPhone and Android). Accessing the vault is password protected so it’s more secure than using notes, emails or texts stored on your phone.

Take notice of data breach notifications: With all the credit card offers, balance transfer promotions and junk mail sent by the average financial institution, it’s easy to tune out a form notification that your account data may have been compromised, but it’s important to take note. According to the “2013 Identity Fraud Report” compiled by Javelin Strategy & Research, almost 1 out of every 4 consumers that received a data breach notice letter became a victim of identity fraud. Of particular concern: “consumers who had their Social Security number compromised in a data breach were five times more likely to be a fraud victim than an average consumer.”

Take action: While the majority of identity theft activities are identified by third parties (55% vs. 45% discovered by consumers), it’s important to be proactive in your monitoring of account activity. The sooner you discover the fraud and take steps to close accounts and notify the appropriate parties, the less you stand to lose.

If you think you may be the victim of identity fraud, or for more information about how to protect yourself, check out the consumer advocacy group ITRC, Identity Theft Resource Center (www.idtheftcenter.org). Or call their toll-free victim assistance phone number at 800-919-6373.

About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service for consumers and businesses.Identity Protection -Nerds On Call Computer repair[ ATTRIBUTE:: to find out how to attribute this image ]

25 COMMENTS

  1. 756039 978546It was any exhilaration discovering your internet site yesterday. I arrived here nowadays hunting new things. I was not necessarily frustrated. Your ideas right after new approaches on this thing have been beneficial plus an superb assistance to personally. We appreciate you leaving out time to write out these items and then for revealing your thoughts. 913466

  2. 691973 749741Youll notice several contrasting points from New york Weight reduction eating program and every 1 one may be helpful. The very first point will probably be authentic relinquishing on this excessive. lose weight 500024

  3. 64409 654614Following study several with the blog articles for your internet internet site now, and i also genuinely such as your strategy for blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark internet site list and are checking back soon. Pls take a appear at my internet page in addition and tell me what you believe. 690460

  4. 48758 586508Basically received my first cavity. Rather devastating. I would like a super smile. Looking a whole lot much more choices. Many thanks for the write-up 872985

  5. 820531 25079I dont think Ive read anything like this before. So good to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. thank for starting this up. This internet site is something that is required on the web, someone with a bit originality. Great job for bringing something new to the internet! 637407

  6. I definitely wanted to construct a quick word to express gratitude to you for these stunning tricks you are showing on this website. My time-consuming internet investigation has at the end of the day been rewarded with reliable information to share with my friends. I ‘d point out that most of us site visitors actually are definitely lucky to be in a useful website with many awesome people with very beneficial secrets. I feel very happy to have come across your entire webpages and look forward to many more excellent times reading here. Thanks once again for all the details.

  7. Coming from my investigation, shopping for electronic devices online may be easily expensive, nonetheless there are some guidelines that you can use to obtain the best products. There are always ways to discover discount specials that could help make one to have the best electronic devices products at the cheapest prices. Great blog post.

  8. 991221 745159Hello! Ive been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good work! 500314

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.