In recent weeks, I’ve heard of people hacking Facebook accounts and email accounts. Have you ever gotten an email from an old friend, but found a bunch of letters that didn’t make sense and links when you opened the message? The hackers want you to click on the link and security experts say that typically downloads malicious code on your computer.
The malicious code could steal your key strokes which means every password you enter could be hijacked and you may never know it. That then gives the hacker access to your accounts. They’ll try the username and password at multiple websites and hope they strike gold. That’s why you need to use different passwords on each site to minimize the impact if someone steals your credentials.
While you may not be an instant victim of ID theft, hackers are looking for personal information to steal your identity or steal your money right out of your bank account. Either way, an attack online makes you feel vulnerable and should! That way you’ll protect yourself better next time.
There is free software from KeePass that security experts I’ve interviewed recommend. It’s free software that manages all your passwords so you can use different ones on different sites, and it recommends more complicated passwords so your accounts are more difficult to hack.
Also, never use a public computer. These may have the same malicious code and software that I discussed above that can steal your account.
Online banking versus writing checks
Some people are scared of technology for the reasons described above. While there are loopholes that allow you to become vulnerable, online banking is much safer than writing a check. This is hard to believe, but it’s true.
When you write a check, it’s possible it can be stolen out of the mail. Once it arrives at its destination, it goes through several hands before it’s processed. Everytime your check passes through someone’s hands, you’re vulnerable. Your entire bank account and routing number is on your check. That’s enough information to make a fraudulent check. If you’re still writing checks, give online banking a try. It’s much safer. The fewer eyes that see your personal information, the better!
Thieves also like to find information to steal your identity the old-fashioned way — dumpster diving. Always shred your personal documents. This is the best way to prevent ID theft.
With so many ways your personal information can be stolen, you can’t be too careful with your personal information. Close browser’s when you are done looking up secure information, and change your passwords frequently.