Simply put, online fraud is when someone takes your personal information and uses it in ways you didn’t authorize them to.

With the online transactions that we all make these days, it is important to exercise caution to avoid malicious use of our personal information when interacting with businesses and individuals over the internet.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep online fraud from happening to you…

1. Don’t open emails from people you don’t know

Emails are the way viruses enter your computer.

Phishing scams also come in via email. Phishing is where you are sent an email and directed to a fake site for a service you normally use, and then asked to update account information.

These typically come from foreign countries – India and Russia primarily these days and all enter via email.

So, trash the email if you don’t know who it came from.

2. Never, ever give out your password (even to a friend)

Never give out your passwords to anyone for any reason.

If you have given your password out, (even to someone you trust), then make sure you change it quickly.

The reason is, you don’t have control over the computer the password was entered from. There could be a keylogger on-board that would associate your password with your account information and a thief could gain entry into your financial records.

3. Get anti-virus software

Any anti-virus software you consider must be continuously updated to be of much good. Avast and AVG are excellent (and free). I have used Avast for years and couldn’t be more pleased.

The bad guys are 24/7/365 creating new ways of attacking your system, so your anti-virus package must be updated to reflect the most current viruses out there.

4. When posting comments, don’t use your full name

If you use your full name, it can be traced back to your account information.

Also, don’t post your picture anywhere – it can be used in a fake ID.

5. Use Online Data Backup

Use an online backup storage company like Mozy, Carbonite, or Livedrive to back up your data. That way, if someone does break in and ties up your system, it will be much easier to get back up and running again.

In closing, use the same amount of care you would with any other financial transaction and you will be safe online.

Take the time to backup your data online and then take the time to create great passwords that only you will know. (a bulletproof password is one that is longer than 8 characters, made up of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even a symbol at the end for good measure)

Change those passwords every few months and make sure that you get a good anti-virus package that is updated minute-by-minute. By doing taking these steps, you will be eliminating the major entry points for fraud.


One Response to “Simple Steps to Avoid Online Fraud”

  1. Business Stuff on October 23rd, 2010 12:49 pm

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