Wednesday’s Word: Identity Theft

By Patricia Uceda, Fall 2014 Graduate Research Assistant

National Cyber Security Awareness MonthIdentity theft is the illegal use of someone’s personal information in order to steal money from them or impersonate them and obtain credit. It can be accomplished online through malware, unsecured networks, or hacking. Unfortunately there is no rationale for whom thieves choose to target; it is largely a crime of opportunity, and you may be targeted simply because your information is available.

In order to minimize your risk for identity theft, ensure that you are only doing business and sharing information with reputable companies online. Many times thieves may try to trick you into divulging personal information by creating malicious websites that can look legitimate. Additionally, make sure that your passwords are different for various websites and that they utilize several different types of characters rather than just something generic like your birthday. Finally, make sure that you have an active anti-virus software and firewall turned on at all times and kept up-to-date. For more information go here.