When connecting your computer to the Internet, anti-virus software is an absolute must. Viruses, trojans, worms and other harmful attachments can destroy your computer, and even your life. Threat levels range from spam and pop-up windows to identity theft, where the culprit copies and sends your personal documents to other computers -- with the bug attached. The easiest way to prevent this from happening: simply download anti-virus or anti-spyware software.

Online shopping and banking make life easy, but you still have to be careful. Anytime you’re handing over private information, like a checking or credit card number, double-check to make sure the site is encrypted for your protection, usually that means the site's address begins with https://. You should encrypt your router as well, if you use one for a network of computers in your home. Hackers can easily spy on your online business if you don't take precautions. Also, when creating passwords, make sure they're “strong passwords,” which means you should include both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers.

Though we all hate spam and most of it ends up in our junk mail folders, some pirates have become more clever making e-mail look as if it came from a reputable company such as Bank of America or Amazon.com, or many others. Usually these fake e-mail messages will ask that you update your account information, but once you login to do so your account will be phished. All of your private information and even your money end up being stolen. But there are steps that you can take to prevent this, including taking a closer look at the sender's e-mail address. Nine times out of ten, it's an obvious fake. Besides, a real bank or online store will never e-mail you to verify credit card, banking or social security information.

Chat rooms may be a great place to socialize, but you could also get victimized there. When offering information about yourself, be very sure about whom you’re giving that information to. Your name and address are low risk (when it comes to identity theft), but pieces of info like birth place, mother’s maiden name, and social security numbers can open the door to a whole mess of trouble for you.

Every few years or so, hard drives wear thin. If you get it replaced before tossing aside the old one, make sure you wipe the hard drive clean. While you may think your documents have been erased and that you'll be safe, copies and archived versions can still be found throughout the disk, and a good programmer (or hacker) will find them. Purchase a good "wipe clean" software solution to make sure all of your private info is erased.

If using a public computer at the library, airport, or Internet cafe or even a computer at your office, it may not be wise to store passwords and personal information on the machine. Remember to delete your Web history and cookies after each session if you know someone else will use the computer after you.

This may sound silly or obvious, but when using a public computer, remember to log off. You never know who will use the computer after you. Usually on public computers, your information is available until you log off, and only then will it be erased. Don’t leave the door open behind you.

7 Tips for Protecting Your Identity Online

When connecting your computer to the Internet, anti-virus software is an absolute must. Viruses, trojans, worms and other harmful attachments can destroy your computer, and even your life. Threat levels range from spam and pop-up windows to identity theft, where the culprit copies and sends your personal documents to other computers -- with the bug attached. The easiest way to prevent this from happening: simply download anti-virus or anti-spyware software.

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  • Guru Aid

    In addition to the above post there are few important things which need to be followed on social media sites, Phone privacy settings, emails, etc. For eg: Change all Facebook settings to "Friends Only" for all posts for a more secure profile. Facebook often makes changes to these settings and, when it does so, can even reset your secure settings. Spam email is getting more and more sophisticated. We do get customers reporting issue with spam emails, asking for their information. So never respond to any emails with account info or passwords. Above mentioned post provides us a good overview of protecting the identity online.

    GuruAid