Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Macbook ProIdentity theft is one of the most rapidly growing global crimes.  The targets of this crime are your personal information, financial information and access to online accounts. This crime is commonly taking place all over the world and most often can occur without your knowledge and can wreak havoc on your life.

How do you know if your computer is protected from hackers?  Most of us take the usual precautions and hope for the best.

But every once in a while you hear of someone who was blindsided and their personal information was stolen.

Here are some tips to keep your computer and network protected:

  • Install an anti-virus and anti-spyware software (such as Norton or McAfee) on your computer devices and configure all software for automatic updates. It is important to update the system to keep pace with new risks.  Security software included with new computers generally requires a subscription for protection to continue.
  • Use the latest version of your web browser (such as Google, Yahoo and Internet Explorer).  Strong encryption protects your information as it travels over the internet.  Older web browsers may not support this high-speed encryption.
  • Do not load software onto your computer if you are unsure of the source.  If you share your computer with anyone (especially children), make sure that you are aware of what is being downloaded or installed.
  • Install a hardware or software based firewall.  A firewall controls how information moves between a computer and a network to help ensure that only legitimate traffic takes place and is more difficult for potential intruders to find them.
  • Make sure you choose your passwords carefully and create one using a combination of letters and numbers.  Do not base your password on personal information or use your User ID as a password.  Change your password frequently and do not reuse a password that you have used for another log in.
  • Do not provide your personal information over the internet or phone.  The process of getting you to share your information has become quite sophisticated and has been increasingly difficult to detect. Be smart about the requests you receive and the source.

And remember to be aware of where you are when you log onto your computer.  Check your surroundings to protect yourself and your information.

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About Maureen Crimmins

Maureen Crimmins is co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management and a fee-only independent financial advisor. Have a financial question? ASK MAUREEN

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