If you’re not careful with how you act online, your online identity could be compromised. As a result, having your online identity stolen can lead to devastating consequences that can affect various accounts. For instance, your financial, healthcare, e-commerce, social media, data, and much more could be at risk when your online identity is stolen. The loss can include usernames, passwords, credit cards, and social security numbers. For some people, they can quickly resolve/restore their identity. For other people, it can take months before everything gets figured out and back on track. By following these critical IT security measures from NetComplete you could prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity fraud.
Secure Your PC and Mobile Devices
Be sure your operating system is up-to-date and uses strong passwords.
Add More Security on your Mobile Account
Don’t fall victim like other people in the past when they were hit with a SIM swap. Contact your mobile phone provider and ask them for a SIM card password or security PIN on your accounts. Also, ask if they can “flag” your account if they receive any suspicious activity for added security.
Never AutoSave Passwords in Your Browsers
Delete saved passwords in all of your browsers. Every one of them has the option to export saved passwords for anyone to view.
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Upgrade Your Free Email Accounts
Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook are the most popular free email accounts, but if you get hacked, you have to resort to an online form and wait for support. For 24/7 support by phone, email, or online, upgrade your Gmail and Microsoft accounts. In addition, with an upgraded account with either of these, you get additional storage and other perks.
Remove Your Phone Number from Critical Accounts with Authentication Factors
If you have been a victim of SIM swapping, your phone is usually the first device that has an authentication app or a saved code. Therefore, a hacker with a SIM swapped phone number will not have access to the trusted device. If an online service requires SMS-based authentication, you can use a Google Voice number (or an alternate SMS option) associated with an email account that is entirely separate from your primary email.
Backup Important Data
Regardless if it’s professional or personal documents, photos, programs, music, it’s essential to back up anything you can’t replace. Otherwise, they could be lost forever. The purpose of backing up more than once is to safeguard a single point of failure. Cloud-based storage is an excellent way to prevent fire, flood, technical, or human error from destroying local copies. Also, a configuration mistake or forgetting to pay the annual subscription fee on a fee-based cloud service can cause some or all of your flies to disappear. It’s worth noting its also a good idea to backup files on another local drive just in case.
It’s essential to make a conscious effort to practice these steps to defend your online identity. Stay alert and watch for common signs of identity theft such as false information on your credit reports, missing bills or other mail, receiving new credit cards you didn’t apply for, credit approval denials for no reason, and call to notices about past due to bills for services or products you didn’t purchase. Lastly, you must consider credit freeze and think twice before using public Wi-Fi.