Any time you get online, including while you take online classes, you run the risk of having your identity stolen. Be vigilant and protect yourself with seven tips.
1. Use multiple email addresses. Separate your school, business and personal email addresses to limit a thief’s access to your information. Change your passwords at least once a month, too.
2. Don’t share information with third parties. Entering a scholarship contest or signing up for a newsletter about careers can be helpful, but will the site sell your name, phone number, or email and home addresses to a third party? Always read the fine print and uncheck the “permission to share your information” box.
3. Use a secure browser as you surf the Internet and make purchases. Start by setting high security options on your browser. Then, shop only at encrypted and secure sites with “https” and a lock symbol on the address bar.
4. Clear the cookies and cache. They store pages you’ve viewed recently and give valuable personal information to anyone with access to your computer.
5. Install spyware protection. Numerous products, including Norton and Kaspersky, protect your computer from keyloggers and other online hijackers. In addition to stopping potential threats, use these software tools to scan your computer for dangers.
6. Avoid spam. Not only does it clutter your inbox, but it can deliver dangerous viruses to your computer. Stop spam by not opening email attachments from people you don’t know or trust. Then, block email addresses from known spam offenders.
7. Share wisely. If you decide to share personal information with a classmate or school-related business, do so wisely. Use your common sense and protect your identity as much as possible by using a pseudonym and concealing your birthday, hometown and other identifiable information.
Online classes advance your career and can be fun. You’ll want to use these seven tips to protect your identity, however. Additionally, consider Identity Protection insurance as an extra layer of security.