Online identity protection is important for an abundance of reasons and it is important to be aware of the steps you can take to cover your tracks. Luckily there are a lot of different avenues and tactics that you can use to ensure that the time you spend online can be enjoyed and does not put you at risk of having your identity stolen.
Online Identity Theft Protection Plan
What to do to stay safe and protect your identity
Never provide your personal information such as bank account info, social security number, passwords, date of birth, address or other personally confidential or identifying information to sites that are not secure and that you do not trust.
Avoid opening emails that are from senders whom you are not familiar with and pay special attention to personal and company emails that ask for passwords or other personal information via email unless instigated by you.
Choose passwords and security questions that can not be easily figured out or answered using your basic personal information. So avoid using: pet names, children's names, birth dates, social security numbers and addresses as a means of online identity protection. DO choose passwords that contain a variety of characters including: symbols, punctuation, numbers and a combination of lower and uppercase letters.
Make it a point to change passwords and security questions regularly. This makes a hackers job more difficult. Some email programs such as yahoo will allow you to set your preferences to require a new password every so many days.
Be vigilant in checking your credit report often. This can detect some unseen or missed signs that your information has already been hacked and is being used and abused by someone else.
Create an online identity protection list that contains all the important numbers and contact information for services, businesses and institutions that you would have to contact should your identity ever be confiscated, used or put at risk. This list would include financial and credit institutions, law enforcement, and consumer reporting agency.
If you have already put your personal information at risk or have had your identity taken here are some steps you can take:
1) Contact all of your financial institutions: banks, credit card companies, consumer reporting agency (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) and any other place that will be affected by the theft of your identity or information. Close out accounts, change information, or simply make sure that these institutions are aware of what is going on. Often they will take down the information and refer you on to what needs to be done next. When contacting the consumer reporting agency you will want to initiate a fraud alert.
2) Keep track of all records and proof that your identity was stolen. Often times this can affect your credit score, history and other important financial aspects of your life. Some companies are going to require that you prove that your identity was stolen in order to eliminate debts accrued or black marks placed on your record.
3) Make sure to file a report with the police department. This is a great way to keep record and provide proof of your stolen identity should it be needed.
tags: how to, identity theft protection, online safety, identity protection, online identity protection