Home > Entertainment and Activities > Movies, TV, Internet > Internet Safety > 5 Tips for Protecting Your Identity
|

5 Tips for Protecting Your Identity

Protect Yourself Online

Virus protection software is an absolute necessity on any computer (even on Macs), and you should schedule regular, automatic virus scans. Avoid file-sharing programs, since viruses can be embedded in downloaded material.

Q: In the next six months, I plan to:

6% 

Start banking online.

3% 

Start investing online.

8% 

Research financial information online.

45% 

I already do some or all of these things.

38% 

I'm not ready to bank or invest online just yet.

479 Total votes cast.

But these days, virus protection is not enough to safeguard the information stored on your computer. You should also have up-to-date anti-spyware and a firewall—make sure this software is set up to notify you of needed patches. Likewise, your browser should be kept current. Many people delay updating their browser because they fear the way it looks or operates will change, but it's critical to have up-to-date encryption capabilities.

A spam blocker set to high will keep your mailbox free of most annoying junk mail, as well as potentially dangerous attachments. You should never open an attachment you aren't expecting—even from a friend—without checking with the sender, since some viruses can invade your address book and proliferate by using stolen addresses.

Your passwords should comprise a mixture of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters. You may think that your mother's maiden name will make your password hard to crack, but that information—and lots of other "personal" information—can be obtained through government records. It's up to you to create unique passwords and commit them to memory. Don't write them down unless you lock the information away.

When you shop online, look for the Trust-e symbol or the Better Business Bureau online seal, which indicate that the seller has been independently audited and found trustworthy. Avoid shopping on any website that doesn't offer a privacy policy—you need to know how your personal information will be handled. Finally, don't make online credit card charges unless they are handled through a secure site or in an encrypted mode. You'll know it's secure if the page you are on has a URL beginning with https instead of http.



|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!