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What online behaviors increase identity theft risk?

Jan 07, 2014 Philip Burgess

The digital age has brought increased risk of identity theft to consumers. This can be a damaging crime, as people could see significant damage to consumer credit scores. For this reason, banks and other financial institutions need to provide people with the necessary information to avoid identity theft when online.

Here are some of the Internet behaviors that increase this risk of this crime:

- Making a purchase on public Wi-Fi: Hackers often target users who are browsing the Web on public Wi-Fi connections, so business owners and employees should be wary of their behaviors when not on password-protected connections. It is best that people wait until they are in the comfort of their own homes to buy products online to avoid potential instances of identity theft. Even then, it is important that wireless networks have a strong password.

- Shopping on unfamiliar websites: When buying goods online, it is recommended that people stick to websites they know and trust. The best way to know a site is secure is to look at the URL for "https." If it only has "http," that means people could be at higher risk of identity theft by completing a purchase.

- Using something other than a credit card: Frequent online shoppers should be sure to use credit cards when clicking "complete order," as this form of payment comes with good consumer protections. For example, most providers have a policy in place that protects users if their card is lost or stolen. If identity theft occurs when a consumers uses a debit card, his or her bank account could be put at risk, which could create many financial headaches.