Use common sense and take steps to protect your online information.
1. Install security software on your computer and make certain it updates automatically to guard against the latest threats, hackers, scammers and identity thieves.
2. Only give your personal information to trustworthy sources. Do not give it out unless you can trust the requester.
3. Research the companies you are dealing with for complaints, scams, reviews, or whatever is available through a simple search engine search. If you can’t find the contact information for the company, don’t do business with them.
4. Once you have done the background work, only give your personal information over encryted websites. To identify an encrypted website, look for https at the beginning of the web address (the “s” is for secure). Be certain https is on every page of the site, not just where you sign in.
5. Be smart with your passwords. Don’t use the same password for all accounts. If it stolen, it puts all accounts at risk. Keep your passwords out of plain sight and protected. Mix at least six numbers, letters and symbols in your passwords. Do not use obvious passwords like your phone number, date of birth or your name.
6. Back up your files to a removable disc or external hard drive routinely. Keep your backups in a safe place, and preferably not in the same location as your computer.