LIFE & STYLE Technology

Top 10 Ways To Protect Yourself From Online Identity Theft

[by Ryan Mark Garcia]

Identity theft is becoming a bigger problem as more and more people are making the internet a bigger part of their lives. People who are new to the online medium often fall prey to phishing or other internet identity theft schemes. In many cases the phishing party uses your credit card to order goods for themselves, in other cases they will apply for credit cards, set up bank accounts, and take advantage of your good credit rating.

Correcting these issues involves a lot of time energy and stress, so here are ten tips to help you from becoming a victim of identity theft.

Use a disposable email account. Keep your business or personal email account just for business or personal communication. If you are going to be making purchases online, joining newsgroups, or subscribing to mailing lists and ezines use a disposable email account. There are many online free accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Grail, and most of them can interface with popular email clients like Outlook or Outlook Express. Use one of them for all your shopping transactions.

Disguise your online identity. If your real name is Mary Smith, try to avoid using email accounts with a name like msmith@example.com when dealing with people you don’t know and trust. If you were born in 1972 don’t choose msmith1972@example.com as your email account.

Use different level passwords. Use one password for your personal information, use another for your business accounts, and a third for your disposable email accounts or mailing lists you sign up for. Don’t use sequential passwords like password1 for personal use password2 for business, and password 3 for disposable accounts.

Use strong passwords. Don’t use your birthdates, the year you were married, or your children’s birthdates. Avoid choosing passwords that consist entirely of letters or numbers. Also, try to avoid using passwords that are actual words. The best passwords are mnemonic phrases like my father ate three apples for breakfast. Take the first letter of each word and convert the number into numbers and you end up with mfa3a4b.

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