There is a very valid fear that keeps many people from owning a computer and many more people from fully enjoying the computer that they have. This fear is the fear of becoming a victim of identity theft. Although it is by far the minority of computer users who actually have these fears realized, it is nevertheless important for every computer user to do everything in their power to lessen their own chances of becoming a victim.
Keeping your identity safe on the computer is not a difficult thing to do but it will take some time and a conscious effort. Although there are technological things that you can do to boost your security while on the computer, there are also precautions that you will need to take to ensure that nothing you do compromises the safety of your identity.
Conduct transactions only on secure sites — Secure sites have operators who are concerned enough about the safety of their patrons that they go through a certification process to make their sites secure. A secure site will have two things. The first is a web address that begins with “https” instead of just “http” (the â€˜s’ stands for secure). The second thing that a secure site will have on it is a closed or locked padlock symbol in the browser window of the page. When scrolled over, this symbol should disclose the certification date of the site as well as the site name that received the certification. Conducting transactions on any sites other than ones that you can see are secure is extremely risky to the safety of your identity.
Never divulge personal information via e-mail, chatrooms, personal profiles, etc. — The same security standards and certification that exist for websites do not exist for e-mail, chatroom or personal profile communication methods. When you send an e-mail from even a secure site the same level of security that you have on the site is no longer present once your message is sent to an outside location. This is why e-mail, chatrooms, etc. are never safe mediums for transferring information. In order to keep your identity safe you may have to find another way of getting or giving the information that is needed. When in doubt, delivering information in person is always a good way to deliver a message with personally identifying information.
Use precautions, firewall, antivirus, etc. — Fortunately there are ways to be protecting your identity without having to think about it. Firewalls and antivirus software serve the purpose of catching harmful viruses and protecting your computer from intruders when you might not even be aware that someone is looking over your shoulder. You must update these features regularly in order to benefit from protection from the latest tricks that hackers, thieves and predators use to override the security that you have set up for your system.
People may not be who they say they are — Keeping your identity safe on the computer requires a precautionary level of suspicion. When communicating with another person through a website or even via e-mail there is no way to be 100% sure that the individual that you are communicating with is in fact who they say they are. Online people can pretend to be anyone that they need to be in order to gain your confidence and eventually get the identifying information from you that they need. Keeping your identity safe must involve guarding your identity at all times.
Keeping your identity safe on the computer involves a great deal more than just some of the basics that were mentioned here so it is a good idea to really research well the security features that are most important to you.