When you buy something on the Internet, is your online information safe? It depends. As a regular online user, it’s important to think about securing online information. Here are a few things you can do to keep your identity secure online:
Stick With Safe Sites and Networks
Secure websites have easy indicators to help you know if they are safe to enter. Look up in your web browser at the domain name --- if it has a “https://” at the beginning, it is a safe site to enter. Secure sites have an extra layer of protection that should also be evident in a locked key symbol in the top left-hand corner of your browser. Be wary of sites that do not offer these indicators of a secure site! Extra-vigilant internet users can consider only entering sites with their information on personal networks. Using public WiFi increases the odds that a hacker can access information pertaining to your identity.
Develop Strong Passwords
There is a reason why websites ask you to create passwords. You may have noticed that some websites rate the passwords you create for their sites. When you create your passwords, include numbers, letters and special characters. Develop unique passwords that do not allude to important information like your phone number, address, and birthdate. Do not duplicate passwords between different accounts --- this makes it easier for hackers to access multiple sources of information with the same code. Change your password every three months, especially if you access your online accounts in public places. Always alter your password if you know its host site has been compromised.
Initiate Contact and Beware of Scammers
When you give your information to a company or organization, make sure that you initiated contact and not the other way around. Scammers do reach out to you and will try to get your information. One great way to ensure that you’re not dealing with a scammer is to look up the company and try to find a local address and phone number. If you can’t find either or they are located abroad, consider reevaluating your decision. You can also look up reviews of the company on the Better Business Bureau or other websites to discern the possibility of fraud.
While securing online information, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. If you have hesitations, some research through search engines may help clarify your concerns.
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