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Fraudsters claiming someone else’s online identity are all over the Internet. Do you take measures to protect your online identity?

Despite the threat, most of us take things for granted, thinking this will never happen to me. But, did you know that recent identity theft statistics suggest that one in every 15 people is a victim of identity theft?

That’s one person in every two seconds!

In the United States, almost one-third of Internet surfers have faced problems associated with identity theft at least once.

Do not be the next victim of identity theft. Read on to learn some tips on how to protect your online identity. 

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone uses another person’s information and data without their permission to commit fraud. This happens when hackers gain access to digital identity and important personal data through the Internet.

Using various spam methods, fraudsters can easily get important personal data on consumers without their knowledge.

Here are eight important tips that can help you understand how to protect your online identity:

How to protect your online identity

1. Check your data breach status

How do you know your data breach status? 

The website www.haveibeenpawned.com has a massive database of information that can help you find data breaches involving your email address and other credentials

2. Set a password policy

Every organization regardless of its size should maintain a strict password policy. Here are three important guidelines to follow:

  • Minimum Password Length: Use at least 8 characters for the password because it’s difficult to penetrate lengthy passwords.

    Abiding with these rules, many online platforms also require users to set at least 8 characters for their passwords.
  • Use of Strong Paraphrases: While a password should be easy to remember, it can also include special characters, numbers, and phrases, where possible.
  • Password Expiration: Implement a password reset policy.
    System administrators can stop users from creating a new password within a stipulated time frame. Such a policy will stop unauthorized individuals to reset the account using a new password.

Read more about password policies here.

3. Avoid phishing attacks

Phishing occurs when a scammer uses a forged link or a false email account to entice users into clicking on that link and revealing important information about themselves.

The goal of such phishing scams is to either get important personal information or gain entry to the computer of the user using the fake link.

Never compromise security
for convenience, choose both!

4. Check website security certificate

When surfing the Internet, it’s safe to visit only the websites that have SSL certificates. The SSL security feature shows a padlock beside the website URL. You can click on the padlock to reveal more information about the website.

The SSL certificate directs the website visitor to the official server instead of a fake duplicate page.

You can also use browsers that automatically stop you from clicking on an unsecured website.

5. Guard Against Spams

Every day thousands of Internet users are victims of scams because they’re enticed into believing a fake offer which otherwise looks very lucrative. 

Remember how some (if not most of us!) have received emails from an heir of a royal family in Africa who would like to deposit millions into our bank account for safety reasons? That’s a classic example of spam.

A simple method to protect yourself is to think logically before taking an undesirable action.

6. Use screen locks on every device

Did you know that identity theft by employees in the workplace is the number one identity risk? 

In the United States, it’s very common for members of an identity theft ring to get temporary work to try getting their hands on cell phones of fellow workers. 

Often, these individuals are masters of their trade, which means they can hack your device in a matter of minutes.

To prevent fraudsters or anyone who intends to access your device, make sure you have screen locks on. Sometimes, it’s even better to combine a screen lock and a PIN to add an extra layer of security.

7. Be careful what you download

Security breach remains a critical issue for employers who can seldom control what their employees download. 

Remember that downloading from the Internet exposes you to malware containing a virus. Hackers often use this malware to gain access to computers. As a result, the hacker can easily penetrate hundreds of other computers connected to a larger network.

It is best to only download files from reliable sources or websites using SSL certificates. Install antivirus programs if you regularly download content from the Internet.

8. Use common sense

No amount of education and awareness can prevent online identity theft if we do not use common sense. 

Know how to differentiate between reputable and spammy-looking websites. Common sense also dictates that downloading torrents and unknown files are prone to malware.

Avoid clicking every link you encounter. Even the seemingly interesting and legitimate links. If we are careful, we can save ourselves and our workplace from online attacks.

Conclusion

Awareness and education are only a part of the solution.

Small and large organizations should consider having an identity access management (IAM) system in place. 

An identity access management system is a set of policies, processes, and products that are used to prevent digital identity theft by regulating how to protect the workplace.

Having an IAM system protects organizations from sophisticated hackers gaining access to an organization’s important data. 

In a post-COVID-19 world where companies are eagerly anticipating their workers to work remotely, it’s imperative that organizations start taking their security more seriously and deploy advanced systems that can prevent them from relying on their workers only. 

Check out how Teamstack can help your enterprise with its easy-to-use solution for cloud identity management.