With more people working from home, shopping online, or just spending time surfing the web as a result of COVID-19, identity theft scams and cyber attacks are on the rise.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t order your groceries, take a course, pay your bills, or even just play games or watch videos on the web safely. However, you do need to be cautious and proactive in order to protect your personal information online.
Pick the Right Passwords
Until recently, web security experts recommended changing your passwords frequently to keep your information safe. This included passwords for everything from your online banking to your email accounts to your social media profiles.
But now, cybersecurity experts say that it’s far more important to choose strong, secure passwords. If you’re confident that your password is both, you shouldn’t need to change it unless you have reason to believe that it has been compromised.
In addition to a strong password, you should also enable two-factor authentication on any websites or accounts that contain secure information, like your bank account numbers or Social Security number.
Think Twice Before You Share Personal Information
With more of our lives moving onto the web, choosing when to share personal information and when to withhold it can be confusing.
Thanks to COVID-19, more than 40 percent of people have bought groceries online in 2020. Most banks now offer online banking, which you can use to do everything from check balances to send payments. We also take classes, date, meet new friends, make insurance or rent payments, and more, all on the web.
There are plenty of instances when you’ll need to share your personal information in order to make a purchase or sign up for a college class on the web. But always make sure that you’re on a secure, trusted website before you do. Never select autofill for your credit card or other personal information, as you may accidentally autofill that info on a site that you don’t trust.
Rethink What You Share on Social Media
You’ve likely heard the tip about not posting on social media when you’re leaving on vacation. While this is a good rule to follow to avoid tipping off criminals about when your home will be vacant, it isn’t the only social media tip you need to follow to stay safe.
Posting your address, or even indicators that could let someone know where you live, is also a bad idea. Carefully check the backgrounds of your photos to make sure that you aren’t accidentally giving away personal info like your house number or street name. Even sharing a snap of your last paycheck to show off your raise to your friends can put your security at risk.
Invest in Professional Identity Protection
No matter how careful you are on the web, it may not be enough. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to steal information and scam unsuspecting web surfers.
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to invest in help protecting your identity on the web. From credit and Social Security number tracking to assistance restoring your information after it’s been leaked or stolen, you can surf the web worry-free knowing that professionals have your back. Identity protection pricing is not just affordable, but a small expense when you compare just how much identity theft could cost you.
Keeping Your Personal Information Safe Online
By choosing the right passwords, avoiding sharing too much on social media, thinking twice before entering personal information, and investing in professional identity protection, you can work, study, and play on the web safely.