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How To Protect Yourself On The Internet

The internet can be a scary place, one where hackers run rampant and credit card information and other personal information don't seem as secure as they should be. There are a couple of things that you need to do in order to ensure that your identity isn't threatened. However if you watch out for a few things, and install a few tools, you'll find that it's a lot easier and you'll run into less trouble, but it's common knowledge that everyone will have some sort of problem with identity theft in their lifetime, whether it comes out of unsafe sites and computer usage, or through other means, it will happen.

The first and foremost thing you need to do is to install an Anti-Virus, even if you have a system that's supposedly virus-free such as a Mac or a Linux based machine. As Macs have become more popular, viruses have sprouted up all over the place that target Macs specifically, and it's important to make sure that you are keeping all your data and information safe, and your computer free from all sorts of malware. A virus can potentially take over your email and other computer accounts, take the information from them and also use them to accomplish specific tasks, such as send mass emails to your entire contact list, or even possibly hack into your bank account and try to take money from it. A strong Anti-virus will save you from all the potential loss and can keep your accounts safe from harm.

Another thing you should look into is a site rating system such as Web of Trust (WOT). WOT shows you user ratings of a site in links and email attachments, showing you a simple green circle indicating that the site is safe to use, a yellow one, meaning that it might be involved in some unsafe practices, or a red one, meaning that it is certain that the site is unsafe. You can also view a more detailed report, showing you it's safety in child safety, privacy, and a couple other categories and also letting you view user comments which can add further information that can help you decide if you should use that site or not. If you use this in conjunction with common sense, such as avoiding downloading suspicious files or programs, then you should be able to avoid most if not all problems with identity theft and other information taking problems.

Another thing is not to put any information up on any site, if you join Facebook you should probably only use your first or nickname and your last name, and have your privacy settings on one that only allows your friends to view your photos or any other information about you. Don't put your address or phone number on social networking sites, as people can simply look you up and take that information, using it for whatever purpose they have. On sites you are unsure about, you should put a fake name or just a nickname. An example of this would be if your name is Larry Dale you could put your name up as LD or Lars D. or even venture from your actual name and put something like Bob Kelso. Why would you put up your information anyway, all you really need is a simple photograph and most people will be able to tell who you are, or you could inform them of your pseudonym in other ways like calling or emails.
As long as you're making sure to follow a couple common sense practices, and you make sure you have the software that can make your information more secure, you can rest easy that your information will be safe.

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