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Identity Theft Prevention: Internet

Danger Zone:  The Internet

The Internet is a great place to browse and do business. But it can also be a Danger Zone for identity theft if you don’t know what to watch for or how to protect yourself.

There are several types of malware – which means malicious software – that can infect your computer as you surf the web including:

  • Viruses
  • Spyware
  • Trojan Horses
  • Keystroke Loggers

These programs are becoming more sophisticated and ingenious in their ability to infect your computer. Many are designed to steal your personal information.

Learn how to practice safe surfing

Follow these steps to protect your computer from the majority of Internet crime:

  1. Make sure you have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed on your computer, keep them updated, and run a full system scan at least weekly.
  2. Keep your computer operating system up to date, and your firewall turned on.
  3. Use strong passwords for secure sites. These should include eight or more characters with random numbers, and change your passwords every six months.
  4. If you download anything from the Internet such as music, movies, or pictures, make sure you do so only from trusted websites. Downloads can be infected with spyware attached to the file.
  5. Watch for signs of spyware—frequent pop up ads, unexpected icons on your desktop, random error messages or sluggish computer performance are all signs of infection. Run a full system anti-virus and anti-spyware scan to safely remove.
  6. Be careful when using public computers to perform any type of personal transactions. Just logging into a Website may give away passwords and other private information if spyware has been installed on that computer.

Following these steps will help protect you from the most common forms of identity theft while surfing the Internet.