The Need To Protect Your Identity Online

Who you are has become a precious commodity to identity thieves. For this reason, many people now shred credit card statements, order items by cheque again, and pay with cash instead of debit card.

However, they often forget that the same hackers who stole personal information from corporate and government databases do not have to go so far to gather all the information of your personal identity online.

Why is it important to protect your identity online?

  1. If someone has your account information, researching your personal information can result in finding the answers to your personal questions. Finding your birth certificate can result in knowing the mother’s maiden name, or it could be as simple as asking that information of you at a genealogy chat room. Reading about your favorite sports teams could lead them to your most likely password. Reading your blog could lead them to know where you consider home to be, another common security question. Thus a little online sleuthing can yield the answers to the security questions that were meant to protect your accounts, and it is information we have often already made available if you do not take steps to protect your identity online.
  2. Your online identity can provide the information necessary to perform identity theft in the real, financial world. Without your current account information but armed with your real information, they may learn enough from your online identity enough to pretend to be you in the real world. Your name, address, and phone number are easily looked up. A social networking site can provide your employer and perhaps even income verification. Information on where you shop, your opinions of credit cards, your online portfolio analysis – all of this information attached to your online identity can give a would-be thief enough information to fill out the necessary forms to get a solid Gold credit card with your name on it.
  3. If you do not protect your identity online, it is easy for someone to gather all of your personal information and then pretend to be you. A former business partner who wants to discredit you through professional forums, an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who wants to destroy your life online, all of the information to do can be gleaned unless you have already protected your personal identity online.
  4. Spear phishing is targeted phishing with the goal of either hacking someone’s computer or eliciting information out of them. This may be done by foreign corporations wanting technical information from a rival firm. It may be done by foreign nationals targeting those with security clearance in the United States. If you have not protected your identity online, you have given these predators the ability to approach you wrapped in a protective cloak. Potentially worse is that you have an insecure online identity, and the phishing attacks of these entities can be done from your online identity, leading law enforcement and searchers to your doorstep
  5. Many companies now do social networking searches of potential employees. If your online identity is either less than perfect or easily made falsely slanderous, you will lose out on employment and consulting opportunities.

Thankfully there are ways to protect your identity online, and the use of anonymous browsing software is the first step we all should take.


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