Avoid online identity theft

The internet has provided criminals with a new way to steal personal information. They are constantly looking for new ways to steal and fraudulently use your name, address, bank account details and social security numbers.

1. Never use the same password twice

Most people use the same password for multiple accounts because its simple to remember. However this can pose a security risk, because once they have discovered your password they can gain access to all of your accounts. Different passwords for different accounts, helps to instantly isolate the problem.

2. Never give out you social security number

You should never be asked for you social security number online.

3. Be aware of phishing scams

You should always be aware of emails that look legitimate, but are actually fraudulent and only steal to steal your personal information. You should especially be suspicious if an email leads you to a website asking for details that they should already have.

4. Use internet security software

Cyber criminals are constantly trying to steal your personal information by infecting your computer with viruses, spyware, Trojans and other forms of malicious software. Using internet security software will help prevent them from doing so.

5. Never send credit card details in an email

Email is not a secure form of communication, therefore you should never send bank details.

6. Use websites only with secure servers

You should always a secure server when entering your credit card details into a website. You can tell if a website is secure by looking for a lock icon which will appear in the status bar of your internet browser.

7. Act quickly

If you do fall victim to online identity theft you should contact the police immediately. Although you may feel embarrassed, don't wait or ignore the problem - act instantly.

8. Look out for grammatical errors

Websites and emails that are riddle with spelling mistakes are highly likely to be the work of cyber criminals. No established company will send you information that contains grammatical errors. Cyber criminals often work in foreign countries and have poor English literacy skills.

Related help & advice

Choosing a good password and keeping it safe