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Common Mistakes that Lead to Identity Theft Online

Agreed that the number of cyber criminals and identity theft cases has been on the rise. But did you know that you may be contributing to it without your knowledge. Often, cyber criminals and hackers look for loopholes in software to access valuable information online. But sometimes, the users themselves may be handing over their important files to these criminals by committing a few blunders. Here is a note of such common mistakes that can ruin your computer’s security and lead to identity thefts.

Using links in email to access accounts

One of the first things you should avoid is to click on any links you receive in emails from unknown  people. Clicking on e-mailed links is bad as it is, but it gets worse if you use them to access your accounts. One of the most common threats for financial security online is phishing, which involves sending fake links of your bank’s site. So no matter how authentic the mail looks, you should avoid clicking on links in an email. Even if you do, avoid accessing your account through them, as that would simply be handing over confidential details like your account number, password etc on a platter, to the hacker.

Not updating anti-virus software

The anti-virus or anti-malaware software you use can protect you only to a certain extent. The software used for security work best when they are updated on a regular basis. Even then, not all may have the code to detect and remove the dangerous spy ware that can leak confidential data from your computer to the web.

While tracking online, cyber criminals often look for sensitive information that can be used to their advantage. To prevent them from eavesdropping on your online communication, you should use a secure browser and the best security software, and update it whenever it needs to be.

Using a common password for all accounts

Remembering multiple passwords can be a painful task. But that does not mean all your passwords have to be the same. Lets say that you have one password for everything – for your system login, your bank and credit card account, your email account etc. In case a criminal is able to hack one of your accounts and get your password, the security of all the other accounts would also be in jeopardy.

The smartest way to protect your details is to have unique, complex, yet easy to remember passwords. The safest passwords are the toughest to crack and usually include letters in both cases, numbers and symbols.

Using free software

Everybody would want to save a little money, especially on expensive software. While getting a software for free seems like a great idea, it may not always be the safest. Free software is often just a ploy used by criminals to release malware or spy ware into your computer and gain access to your files. This may not necessarily be the case with all free software, and taking a few precautions when downloading such software should keep you safe. However, if you can afford it, it is best to go for licensed software and stay safe than risk your valuable data for a few hundreds of dollars.

Clicking on pop-up ads

Pop-up ads are attractive and are made to distract you from whatever you are doing on the net. But if you click on them because they look good, or they seem to give an exciting message like “you just won a lottery”, you would only be paving way for a virus to enter your system. As far as possible, it is best that you ignore any such pop-up ads, no matter how much they compel you to know where they lead.

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