Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

You can save yourself hours of wasted time cancelling cards and chasing up your bank to reclaim stolen cash by being vigilant and following these simple steps from AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, the distributor of the award-winning AVG Internet and mobile security software in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

Lloyd Borrett, Security Evangelist at AVG (AU/NZ), says: "People are giving away their personal information and opening themselves to identity fraud by failing to be alert to the ramifications of their online activities."

In today's digitally connected world, having your identity stolen is all too easy and the consequences of losing your identity are all too serious.

Identity fraud sees criminals clone your identity for monetary gain such as opening bank accounts in your name, redirecting your post to another address, or even securing a passport using your details.

So what can you do to prevent the fraudsters getting enough of your personal details to wreak havoc with your finances and your life? AVG (AU/NZ) has compiled a list of tips to help you keep the cyber criminals at bay.
  • Don't throw away anything that contains personal identification information - shred or rip up all bank statements, utility bills, application forms, chequebook stubs, card receipts and letters carrying personal details.

  • Be aware of phishing phone calls - where you're conned into giving away personal information over the phone - get a return phone number, check it is a legitimate organisation and call them back.

  • Be very alert online - phishing attacks are a growing problem. Don't respond to emails asking for personal information such as account details, usernames, passwords or credit card details.

  • Set strong passwords - When 20,000 Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail passwords were hacked into last year, it was found that the most popular password was '123456'. Cyber criminals have sophisticated hacking technology so it is vital to set long passwords with illogical combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. And change them regularly. Social networking sites can be an open conduit to your data. Always log out at the end of each session.

  • Monitor your credit status regularly - Then you'll be aware of who is doing credit searches on you and if any new accounts have been set up in your name.

Borrett says, "If you suspect fraudulent activity then act fast and contact your bank, credit card, store card merchandiser, utility and phone companies so they can monitor irregular activity. Other businesses such as Secure Sentinel offer loss assistance and identity theft detection services."

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Keywords

AVG, Internet Security, online identity, cyber crime

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