There are several steps you can take to stay secure online. We have discussed some before. Below are a few more, some of which are more advanced.
1. Install an anti-virus program and make sure that it stays updated. While most of today’s programs update automatically, you should check to make sure they are working properly.
2. Do not open email attachments even if they are from someone you know. Open them only if you are expecting them, you know the person sending them, and you know what they contain.
3. Do not fall for phishing schemes or other emails where they try to get your personal information.
4. Update your operating system regularly. Just like #1 it should happen automatically but it is good practice to check.
5. Be careful about the websites you visit. Do not visit questionable or suspicious websites. Do not download software from any website unless you know it is trustworthy.
6. Use a firewall. If you do not have a router, turn on the firewall that comes with your operating system.
7. If you are using Vista or Mac OSX, or even Linux you should create an account for daily use that does not have administrative rights. That way it will have restricted rights if a piece of malware gets into your system.
8. Even with good habits, you need to run an anti-spyware program to scan and remove spyware from your computer.
9. Shop at Secure Sites. If you shop on the Internet, enter your personal information and credit card number only on a secure Web page.
10. Don’t give your Social Security number out on the Internet. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes because computers and the Internet make stealing an identity from an unsuspecting victim easy. So do not be an unsuspecting victim!
All of these will contribute to a safer experience for not only shopping online but also online banking and bill pay. This helps to prevent identity theft and saves you hours of aggravation. What other online safety tips do you have?