Identity theft… hints for staying protected.

Identity theft is clearly on the rise. Through the advancement of technology, thieves have become more sophisticated in their methods of obtaining your private information. No longer is it a simple case of using a PO box to receive surface mail, hiding your PIN number when using your credit card and shredding documents containing any personal details before disposing. With the rise of internet banking, online shopping and social media, there is growing need for you to protect your information when accessing the internet.
1- Hide or limit your profile.
With many social media websites changing their privacy settings regularly, you need to keep yourself updated on what information others can access. Some sites are known to change your privacy settings with little or no notification. Take the time to check what information is publicly accessible regularly.
2- Use different and complex passwords for each website
A password with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols is one of your best protections against being a victim of identity fraud. Using “mothers maiden name” or your date of birth as a password is just asking for trouble. Still, the most commonly used passwords worldwide are “123456” and “password”.
3- Only give required information
The best protection to identity theft is to keep personal information off the internet. Online predators can and will use your personal information wherever and however they can. Putting photographs of your drivers license, birth or marriage certificates etc should be avoided. If a website starts asking you for weird or bizarre information, don’t give it.
4- Use only reputable sites for online purchasing
Ebay, Amazon & Paypal all give purchase guarantees, as all reputable sites do. Stick to these sites for online purchasing. If another user contacts you privately, be very careful, especially if they are asking for your bank details to pay you directly for an item.
5- Delete old emails
You don’t leave mail from 2009 lying around your house, same should apply to your email. Once an email is of no use to you, permanently delete it.
6- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Don’t be enticed into giving your information away for the promise of money. Scammers persist with these methods because sadly, people keep falling for them.
7- Change passwords regularly
If using a smartphone or tablet, there are password manager applications available if you have trouble remembering different usernames and passwords
8-Check out www.scamwatch.gov.au for the latest specific information on websites and emails you should avoid.
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