The internet has made it faster and easier to do everyday tasks like pay bills, shop, and search for information about your neighbourhood. However, it has also made it easier for thieves to steal your money and your personal information. In order to safeguard your identity, use these simple tricks to protect yourself online. Remember: internet safety isn't just for kids, it's for grown ups too.
Use Security Software
The first and most basic step you should take is to invest in a good security package for your computer. Companies like Trend Micro, McAffee, and Norton make full packages that can protect your computer from viruses and hacking and you can often get them for under $50. One of the most useful functions of these programs is the site security feature, which lets you know if the website you stumbled across about Niagara Falls, for example, contains code that might harm your computer if you visit it.
Protect Passwords and Usernames
Your money and your banking information is only as secure as the password you hide it behind. Never write down important passwords and usernames, either on your computer or on paper. Beware of password-remembering programs and make sure to change your password every few months. Use passwords that are harder to guess, staying away from birth dates and the names of family and friends or your first pet.
Check Site Security
Not all websites are created equal, though many will go out of their way to pretend they are. Regardless of whether the site claims to be a secure portal for making payments, always look to make sure the little lock is illuminated on your browser window before handing over personal information. Never send your information in an email. Never respond to emails that ask you to verify or submit information. Always enter the web address yourself. If you want to see an example of a secure site, take a look here. Upon visiting Trendy Bambini you can see the McAfee Secure symbol at the bottom of the page. As you continue through the process (choosing an adorable outfit and adding it your cart), you will notice that the site switches over to a secure site with an "https" URL as soon as you reach the stage of entering your credit card information. You can feel safe while making a purchase from this company.
Use Caution When Chatting
The internet allows us to socialize with many more people than the small circle who live around your office or your home. Most people are genuine, but some may not be who they say. To protect yourself from hackers and predators, never give out personal info such as your address or phone number and be open to the possibility that your new "friend" is misrepresenting him or herself. If you must meet, do so in a public place with lots of other people around for protection.