An Apartment Building

Six Ways to Protect Your Identity Online

July 14, 2017
Thanks to the convenience of the Internet, we’re all spending more time online. Unfortunately, so are criminals. Here are some tips to help you protect your identity online.

Choose strong passwords. A strong password contains eight characters or more, including a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Select passwords that are not related to your log-in name, personal history, or are easily found in the dictionary.

Recognize phony email messages. Email scams, known as phishing, are attempts to steal your passwords and identity. Check the sender’s email address carefully. Oftentimes, the domain name will be slightly off with strange extensions or lots of numbers. Other tell-tale signs of a phony email message are poor grammar, typos, and odd phrasings and urgent call to actions such as “act quickly” or “update your security.”

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of unbelievable online or email offers. If they don’t sound legitimate, they probably aren’t. Never respond to emails that ask for personal information, such as your bank account, credit card number, etc.

Review bank and credit card statements regularly. If you see strange purchases on your credit card statements, or if your bank contacts you about them, be diligent and take action. Early detection can lessen the impact of identity theft or fraud.

Make sure websites are secure. Before you exchange funds or provide personal information online, check to make sure the website is secure. Any URL that begins with “https” instead of “http” is secured using a SSL certificate. This means data is securely passed from your browser to the website’s server.

Don’t click on pop-up ads. Many times, these don’t take you to a website at all, but instead install malicious software on your computer that can be used to spy on you or steal your passwords.