Protect Yourself from Identify Fraud

Identity fraud is on the rise, affecting millions of adults each year. So what can you do to protect yourself from identity fraudsters? Being proactive and practicing caution can go a long way towards protecting yourself.

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is sound advice for protecting yourself online. It is much easier to take steps to prevent a problem than to deal with it after it has happened. Are you a target for an identity fraudster?

Take a look at a couple of steps you can take to help prevent you from becoming a victim.

Protect yourself online

When you are online, protect yourself with a firewall or protective software. The presence of an identity fraudster often remains undetected. This makes it challenging to actively be on the lookout for fraudsters. Are you using a wireless network to access the Internet? If so, protect yourself by setting up a password to your network to access the web. Otherwise, you may be sharing your wireless connection with your entire neighborhood. Even worse, roaming thieves are looking for an unprotected personal network from which to access personal information on a computer.

Avoid logging into your bank account while using public computers, such as at a library, or free wireless connections, such as at coffee shops or similar places. Criminals often try to intercept Internet traffic, including passwords and other personal information, from these public locations. If you must conduct private business publicly, be extra vigilant. Close all browsers when you are done so someone can’t hop on the computer after you are gone and access your information. Also, watch out for shoulder surfers!

Install security software on your computer

At a minimum, your computer should have antivirus and antispyware protection as well as a firewall. Antivirus software works on known viruses. They are reactive and may remove a virus from your computer automatically. Antispyware can prevent attacks from viruses that infect a computer from other sources. Spyware is installed without the computer owner’s knowledge through numerous channels such as following a link embedded in a fraudulent email. A firewall is set up to reject unauthorized traffic to your computer and allow legitimate data through as necessary.

Endpoint security software solutions, such as Trusteer Rapport and SafeOnline, add extra layers of security to computers that provides online transaction protection and protection from online identity fraud. These types of software work with antivirus, antispyware and firewall software to secure sensitive information when an intrusion is detected, which prevents financial fraud and account takeover. Many banks offer customers the option to download endpoint security software from the bank’s website to help protect customer’s online banking data.

Referenced articles:

1. “7 easy ways to be victimized by ID thieves”, www.bankrate.com.

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