Modern technology gives us many things.

How to protect your identity from cyber criminals

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One of the most important things we need to protect online is our identity. In today’s connected world having your identity stolen can have dire consequences.

But research by AVG internet security company has found we only have ourselves to blame by inadvertently providing easy access to our private details.

AVG’s security expert Lloyd Borrett says we are opening ourselves up to identity fraud and offered some tips on how to protect yourself.  

“People are failing to be alert to the ramifications of their online activities,” Borrett said.

Here are his tips to avoid prevent cyber criminals wreaking havoc with your finances and your life.

Don’t throw away anything with your name, address and other personal details: Don’t throw them out intact anyway. It’s a good idea to invest in a shredder so you can rip up bank statements, utility bills, applications forms, chequebook stubs and receipts.

Be aware of phishing scams: Phishing is the act of deceiving you to drawing out your personal and financial information. If you get a call asking for information over the phone get a number, check it is a legitimate organisation and call them back if it is.

Watch out for phishing emails: With so much of our lives online most of threats can come through your inbox. Treat emails that ask for you to submit account details, usernames and passwords as suspicious even if they look like they’ve been sent from a real bank or other financial institution.

Set a strong password: Our password is our first line of defence so leaving the default 0000 or setting something easy to crack like 1234 just won’t cut it. More than 20,000 Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL emails accounts were hacked last year for that very reason. Set long passwords which combine letters, numbers and symbols and change them regularly.

Check your credit card status regularly: Check if any credit searches are being carried out on you or if any new accounts are being set up in your name. Also check your existing credit card statements for any unusual activity.

AVG is the distributor of the award-winning internet and mobile security software in Australia.

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