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12 Sep 2017

As we rely on the online world to achieve a vast majority of our daily tasks, it’s prudent to evaluate security checkpoints to ensure our personal information is safe. A wealth of our personal details are now accessible online through social media channels, email, online banking and ecommerce. More than 110 million pieces of information have been illegally traded so far this year.

Even the most cautious of us when it comes to privacy settings can be vulnerable to a cyber attack – especially if third-party applications are allowed access to your computer. Every day we entrust websites with our full name, address, date of birth, credit card details, family connections and more. This information is not only stored online but can be used to hack into other personal accounts.

Cigna provides comprehensive Identity Theft Insurance to help prevent identity theft from occurring and recover costs if it has. To help you stay safe online check out ways to avoid identity theft online below:

1. Check your URL security

If you are making online transactions – whether bank transfers or shopping online, ensure the URL starts with https://. The ‘s’ stands for secure, so if you are about to enter bank account or credit card details, make sure it’s ‘s’ for secure.

2. Go back through your bank statements

You don’t have to cross check all receipts with your payment history, but it pays to keep an eye on your transactions and check your bank statement every couple of days. Get in touch with your bank immediately if you spot any unfamiliar transactions. Also keep an eye on your credit rating as you would your bank statements. If somebody is going around pretending to be you, running up services and not paying this will appear on your credit rating.

3. Keep your personal information to a bare minimum on social media

Personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, birthdates, your children’s age or even the school they attend, can be used by hackers to assemble more information about you. The more information you put on social media, the more information hackers can gather and use against you.

4. Check your social media security settings

When it comes to social media – we recommend you change your settings to private or ‘friends only’. This ensures anything you post, is only seen by a preapproved audience i.e your trusted friends and family.

5. Use multiple passwords

It’s tempting to use one password for all your accounts, after all it’s easier to remember one password opposed to one for each online account you have. However, if this one password is cracked, hackers can gain access to all your private data at once. Make sure to check the strength of your passwords.

6. Report and delete all spam

Phishing emails are becoming more and more sophisticated, personalising their emails by using information you have publicly posted online against you. Never respond to any emails that ask you for account information, passwords or to make a money transaction. A bank will never ask you for this information via online, if in doubt, contact your bank. Always ‘report spam’ so the sender is blocked from sending further emails. Delete the email after reporting and clear out your trash folder to remove all traces from your email account.

7. Don’t save your credit card information online

It might be tempting to save your credit card or bank account details on an ecommerce site that you frequent often to save time entering them each site you shop. However, storing this information can make you financially vulnerable if someone hacks into your account.

8. Put passwords on all your devices

If all your devices are password protected and automatically lock after a specified amount of time, you can rest easy when you leave your work computer for lunch break or accidently leave your phone at the café.