What you can do to protect your identity online

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Your identity is precious. It’s what makes you unique and allows you to do many important life tasks. Do you know how to protect it from criminals?

Whether you’re applying for a passport, buying a property, or proving your permission to work, details such as your name, age and address are vital.

Criminals know this as well as you do, and so will look for opportunity to steal people’s identities.

You can prevent them by being careful where you share information, keeping your devices up to date and making sure your online accounts are secure.

Get Safe Online recently launched their Protect Your Identity campaign with guidance for us all.

· Never share account details or other information that you use to prove your identity, with friends, family, or other people.

· Think about what you share on social media, such as date of birth and family members’ or pets’ names you also use in your passwords. Don’t post details or images of your driver’s licence, passport, NI number or other confidential items.

· Never reveal private information in response to an email, text, letter, phone call or web form unless you’re certain that the request is authentic. Call to check, on the number you know to be correct.

· Install the latest software, app and operating system updates on your computer and mobile devices. Better still, set them to update automatically.

· Make sure all your passwords are strong and keep them safe. Try using three random words, combined with capital and small letters, numerals, and symbols. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.

· Use a strong and separate password for your email accounts.

· Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots when doing anything confidential online. They may not be secure, and they may even be fraudulent.

· Always beware of people looking over your shoulder when you’re entering private information on a computer, mobile device, or ATM.

· Arrange for paperless bills and statements instead of printed ones.

· File sensitive documents securely, and shred those you no longer need – preferably with a cross-cut shredder.

· Get regular credit reports to check if anybody has taken out finance in your name.

You can view these points on their website at www.getsafeonline.org/protectyourid/

If you’re running your own business or using a work device at home, remember these tips apply in your professional setting as much as your personal life.

Think about what information you share on your company social media profiles and update your work passwords as regularly as your personal ones.

Doing this will improve the resilience of your organisation and reduce the likelihood that you lose time and money to thieves.

If you found this guidance helpful, check our range of resources at https://www.nebrcentre.co.uk/how-we-can-help-you for quick tips on how to strengthen the security of your business.

You can also sign up to our newsletter for free and receive regular updates on how to stay safe online.