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Online Identity Theft Protection

Many people want to know about online identity theft protection measures as they believe the Internet is the favorite place for identity thieves to collect their personal data. Actually, identity theft is still more prevalent offline than online; identity thieves use techniques such as stealing mail from your mailbox, retrieving personal information from your garbage, stealing your wallet or purse, and identity theft involving persons known to the victim.

Does that mean you don't have to worry about online identity theft protection? Obviously we all need to be vigilant when it comes to our personal data, whether online or offline. You can read more about hands-on identity theft by reading this article on Identity Theft Prevention Tips, but in this article I am going to go over the techniques used online and what online identity theft protection measures you can take.

Online Identity Theft Protection Measures

In reality, by using the Internet to access your accounts you are in a better position to detect identity theft a lot sooner than by offline statements. If you have to wait to receive your bank and credit card statements by mail once a month, you may be surprised to see your credit card maxed out or your bank account emptied.

If you regularly access your statements online you can detect if anything suspicious is happening almost immediately. You should also get your credit reports at least once a year and study them carefully; you could get your free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies once a year but order one every 4 months. As an example, get your Equifax credit report in January, your Experian credit report in May, your TransUnion credit report in September, and your next years Equifax report in January and so on.

Also, consider changing from paper statements and checks to online versions. Stop paying by signed checks through the mail and use electronic bill payments instead. Remember to monitor these online accounts regularly but don't follow links in e-mails to your account directly type in the address in your browser. Online Identity Theft Protection Tips

Apart from changing to paperless online accounts, there are some other tricks that identity thieves use online that you need to know about. The below online identity theft protection tips could save you from identity theft:

Phishing Identity thieves could send you an e-mail pretending to be from a financial institution that you trust. The e-mail will ask you to click on a link in the e-mail for you to enter your personal details like your social security number or bank / credit card details. Do not click on links in e-mails to access your accounts; instead type in the address in your browser yourself or contact the company directly.

Trojan Horse A hacker can use a Trojan horse that is placed in your computer to gain access to it. This malware could infect your computer when you download software, through e-mail attachments, or other applications or websites that have been exploited to allow installation of a Trojan horse. A hacker can use the Trojan horse for data theft (your passwords, bank, or credit card details,) keystroke logging, modifying files, uploading or downloading files. To remedy this, make sure you have the latest browser and firewall installed, hide and change your passwords often, and buy good security software that updates automatically.

Malicious Websites When surfing the web, you could inadvertently land on a malicious website that is used for phishing, online scams, spyware, or is an attack site. One solution to this is to download the free Compete toolbar that will give you an indication beside each site in your searches if the site can be trusted or not.

Online Scams There are thousands of online scams so your best option is to only open e-mail from people that you know. If you do get an offer that sounds too good to be true, it is generally because it is a scam. Some identity thieves send out offers for really cheap services but you will only be eligible for the discounted price if you act immediately by sending them a reply with your personal details. Please, do not send your personal details, like social security number, address, phone number, bank details, etc. It may seam obvious but you would not believe the number of people that fall for these scams.

Identity Theft Protection Services

Finally, even if you take the advice in this article about online identity theft protection and the article mentioned above about hands-on protection against identity theft, you could still become a victim of identity theft. Identity thieves are getting more cunning and using new techniques all the time so you have to be careful.