Safeguard yourself against identity theft

Published by Rebecca Rutt on 02 July 2012.
Last updated on 03 July 2012

ID theft

Last month, six million users of social network website LinkedIn had their passwords stolen.

Unfortunately, this is not a one-off incident and, each year, millions of people are victims of online identity fraud. So how can you safeguard against it?

CHOOSE A SCAM-PROOF PASSWORD

Be careful about picking passwords that could be easily obtained by fraudsters, for example, your mother’s maiden name, your home phone number or your date of birth. No password is unbreakable but the longer it is, the better.

Go for between 10 and 16 characters and make it as complicated as possible, including letters, punctuation, symbols and numbers.

Use the entire keyboard, not just the characters you use most often. However, don’t make your password too difficult for you to remember.

10 ways to scam-proof your password

USE DIFFERENT PASSWORDS FOR ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS

It’s tempting to use the same password for everything but cybercriminals know this and usually steal passwords on websites that have little security and use the same password and username in more secure environments, such as banking websites.

If you want to check how safe your password is, use a free tool such as the Microsoft password checker (microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx).

If you think you've been scammed get in touch by leaving a comment below, or email us on scamwatch@moneywise.co.uk and let us know exactly what has happened.

CHANGE IT REGULARLY

Try to make sure you change all your passwords on a regular basis, say, once every six months.

This will help minimise the risk and protect your details if a fraudster tries to figure them out.

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