Practical Advice Offers a Layered Approach to Protect Against Identity Theft and Cybercrime
Sunnyvale, California – September 21, 2010 – Kindsight, developer of identity theft protection services, today released a list of best practices to prevent online identity theft. Given the recent increase in cybercrime and growing identity theft concerns, consumers need concrete, real-world advice on how to protect themselves and their families. In fact, according to a recent survey by Kindsight, the majority of consumers have been victims of virus attacks, but only slightly over half have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves online. The tips provided below include ways to stop cybercriminal attacks and online identity theft, among other pressing concerns.
Protect the Personal Information Stored on your Computers
With more and more personal information from credit card statements to tax returns being stored on computers, cybercriminals have access to a wealth of information that can be used to steal your identity. Online criminals install “trojans” to take control of you computer and copy information from it – or use “keyloggers” to discretely record everything you type – including your user name and passwords to commit fraud, open new accounts in your name or just sell the information on the black market.
To protect yourself, make sure that all computers and home networks are secure with a combination of anti-virus and anti-spyware software, firewalls, and keep all programs patched and up-to-date. You should also ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if they have a security layer that analyses your network traffic to provide protection when your anti-virus and other security precautions do not. This network-based security service provides an additional layer of protection against identity theft and other online threats.
Don’t Click on Links in Your Emails
Phishing is defined as a cybercriminal attempting to acquire sensitive online information such as username, password and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy company or service. Never click on links in emails if you can’t verify the sender, nor should you enter credit card numbers or other personal information into sites you don’t trust – no legitimate business or organization will ask you to enter your username or password via email. You can also prevent phishing attacks by installing a safe browsing tool, which highlights risky websites before you click on them.
Think Twice About What You Share on Social Networks
Linking your Facebook account with location-based social networking services like Foursquare or geotagging your photos gives cybercriminals a wealth of information about your whereabouts, making it easy for them to find your home address or child’s school. Recently, burglars have been preying on unsuspecting home owners who announce when they’re out of town, so it’s also important to avoid announcing your travel schedule to your social network. To prevent Facebook friends from showcasing photos of you to strangers by tagging you in pictures, make sure your Facebook settings are set to only those in “your network” or “only friends” who can view tagged photos of you.
Create Secure Passwords
Criminals steal passwords by entering obvious information like your birth date, children’s birth dates, anniversary dates, street address, etc. They may also try to reset your password by guessing answers to common questions like “What is your mother’s maiden name?” To avoid being an easy target, don’t use common passwords like “123456,” “password” or “your last name”, and avoid using common reset questions and answers. It’s important to keep your passwords random, mix up numbers, letters and capitalization and change your passwords several times a year.
Monitor Your Credit Score and Bank Accounts
Be diligent in checking activity in your bank account and credit cards and also order copies of your credit report from all three credit bureaus at least once a year. Take note of erroneous information such as transactions you did not make or accounts incorrectly opened in your name and report them immediately. If you’re still concerned that your identity may or has been stolen, you may want to consider setting up fraud alerts through the credit agencies.
The full list of tips is available here. Additional resources include:
- Read the latest Kindsight news
- Stay up to speed on Kindsight and the latest identity theft industry news
- Follow Kindsight on Twitter
Kindsight partners with Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide consumers with an additional layer of protection against identity theft and other threats. The Kindsight Identity Theft Protection Service detects threats in your Internet traffic, sends you alerts and shows you step-by-step how to remove threats that put your personal information at risk. The Kindsight service is always-on, always-up-to-date and cannot be disabled by criminals since it is embedded in the ISP’s network. The Kindsight service is offered for a monthly fee or, like many Internet applications, at no-cost through relevant advertising. Visitwww.kindsight.netfor more information.
SHIFT Communications for Kindsight
VP, Marketing for Kindsight