Double-Check URLs to Safeguard from Online ID Theft

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How will I know if I’m at a legitimate web site?

Double-Check URLs to Safeguard from Online ID Theft

It is easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when guarding against online identity theft with all of the anti-virus, anti-spyware and other protective software available. In addition to relying on technology to keep you safe from identity theft on the Internet, it's wise to also apply old-fashioned common sense to self-monitor security checks during your online activity.

One simple precaution is to look for visual indicators of secure sites. Whenever you access a site where you will be entering personal or sensitive information, look for the locked padlock image on the Internet browser's status bar. Alternately, make sure the URL address begins with “https://” rather than just http://. While there is no guarantee of the site's security, the absence of these indicators is a clear warning that the web site is not secure.

If you use Outlook or a similar e-mail program, you can also check for fraudulent active links embedded in e-mails. Without clicking on the link, roll your cursor over the link. In the bar at the bottom left of the window, you'll see the URL address for the link. If it is unrecognizable or suspicious in any way, don't click! In fact, unless you are confident you know the sender, don't click at all. Likewise, be very cautious of downloading e-mail attachments – even from people you do know. Viruses travel from one unsuspecting victim to another and friends can inadvertently be sharing infected files with you.



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Sheri Ann Richerson