Many individuals make the mistake of sharing their personal information with scammers, even though they are not aware of the fact. Purchasing products from an unknown e-commerce website, using your debit or credit card or accessing your personal accounts via your email network are two examples on how scammers can retrieve your personal data. If you have an open-door policy for your home, you would be wise to place your personal documents, including social security card, birth certificate, bank statements, and any paperwork that contains your personal data in a safe or lock box. Remember, you can never trust anyone with this information.
Password-Protect Your Wi-Fi Hotspot
Many individuals are not even aware of the fact that they can access their wireless router. Believe it or not, an unprotected router can be very easily compromise your personal information. In fact, many hackers will work diligently day and night to find routers that are left insecure, by their owners. The only genuine way to become fully protected from this fraudulent activity is to create a password for your Internet router.
You can access your wireless router’s interface by using its IP address. If you are unfamiliar with this process just do a brief Internet search and you will surely find a step-by-step video that will guide through the process.Secure Websites
Online scammers work diligently to find discrete ways to fool the consumer. Some will go so far, as create spoofed websites that have an appearance similar to legitimate e-commerce websites. While, most of the spoof websites are not encrypted, you will occasionally one that is, so how do you determine, if a website is secure?
Never input your personal data into a website that you are unsure about. Instead, you should do a quick overview of the domain address. You should be looking for a letter “S”, which will follow the standard http and looks something like this “https” (see below). This basically represents that the website is protected by the SSL (Secure Socket Layers) protocol.
Another key feature to look for is a “padlock” icon, which can be located at the beginning of the domain address. This is what the icon will look like from a viewer’s perspective (see below).
Now, just because you do not see the letter “S”, do not fret, because some e-commerce websites are not secured, but their checkout process will be.
Creating A Secure Password
Many Internet users will tend to utilize the same password for all of their online accounts. This is a huge mistake that can potentially increase the risks of getting your account hacked. Remember, these hackers are very intelligent and can crack a vulnerable password in a matter of minutes.
Be creative, when you are composing your passwords and remember the more characters, the more difficult hackers will find to crack it. It is recommended for you to utilize at least 10 to 12 characters, with a mixture of letters, including capital letters, special characters, and numbers. Avoid utilizing your birth date, children’s names, last 4 digits of your social security number, or pet’s name, because these are the first combinations that the hacker will try.
Once you have your password composed, never share it with others, even if you think they are trustworthy and reliable. Many individuals find out very quickly that their friend is really no friend at all, after they share their information or written content with others. Believe it or not, this happens more often than you would imagine, especially in cases, where couples have a tiny spout, which turns into a mess.
If any company contacts you via your email or private message and request your password do not respond, because this is probably a scam.
Frequently Backup Your Data & Files
A computer or hard drive crash can occur without a moment’s notice. When this happens, all data is lost and there will be no way to get it back, unless you backed it up previously. Malicious malware and viruses can also corrupt your files and potentially disable your computer. You can purchase an external hard drive and utilize it to back up your data and files. This device is inexpensive and can be purchased at any online marketplace or retail store.
If you choose to use a Cloud platform, as a primary source for backing up your data, be sure to password protect it.
If you want to learn more about safeguarding your personal data, please use the following link to the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Security-Summit-2015.