From email phishing to planting spyware on your computer, the internet is a hotbed for identity thieves stealing passwords, credit card numbers and more.
“While identity theft is certainly not a new problem, it has grown in magnitude over the past five to six years,” said Dr. Joshua Davis, department head of computer information systems at Missouri State University.
He cited the 2017 Identity Fraud Study released recently by Javelin Strategy & Research, which showed identity fraud affecting 15.4 million Americans – a record high since tracking began in 2003.
Avoid becoming a victim
Internet users should use some best practices to protect their identities online. Davis said the most crucial ones are:
- Use two-factor authentication, which is an extra layer of security that requires more than a username and password
- Open email attachments with caution
- Install latest patches on electronic devices
For those already victims of identity theft, Davis said they should do two things right away:
- Actively monitor their credit reports
- Report the theft and get help at IdentityTheft.gov
For more information, contact Davis at 417-836-4131.