Most of us use the Internet every day and do so much of the time without giving any thought to the potential risk to the security of our identity. With all we know about the problems with identity theft perhaps we all should think about it more than we do. According to The Federal Trade Commission, one out of every six Americans are a victim of identity theft each year and the number is growing. Here are five common errors many of us might be making:
1. Thinking the security software we are using is keeping us safe. Criminals are constantly creating new viruses all the time. As soon as we figure out how to beat one of them, they have created another. The truth is your security software will not keep you safe unless you are constantly performing or accepting the updates.
2. Logging into our accounts through email links. For example, if your bank sends an email requesting you to update your account information, you should never click the link to do so. Instead you should always type the URL into the browser manually.
3. Using the same password for all of our on-line accounts. Even though it is much easier for us to remember passwords for the many accounts we have on-line, it can cause a much bigger problem should a cyber crook access your information, especially banking and credit card accounts. Be sure to use a variety of letters, numbers and symbols when making a password. Be sure to change all of your passwords at least two times a year. Make different passwords for each account.
4. Yes, we have all been tempted to download free software offers at one time or another. Always do a bit of research before installing anything to find out if anyone has experienced problems with the software. It is good to be wary of these free software offers. It is much easier and less time consuming to check it out than it is if you are a victim of identity theft.
5. When shopping on-line, always be sure you are on a "secure" web-site. Look at the URL and if it begins with "https", it offers more security than if it begins with "http".
Checking your credit report frequently can be helpful with catching something unusual so you can quickly take the needed steps to remedy the situation.