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Warning! Even if you have anti-virus, spyware protection, and a firewall, you could still be an easy target for identity thieves, hackers and cyber criminals. Read on to find out how YOU are giving online criminals free access to your personal and financial information…

You’ve done all the right things. You’ve installed a good firewall, you keep your antivirus up to date, and you’re making sure you keep up with the latest security patches…so your computer network should be safe from identity thieves, right?


According to a recent study, 37% of electronic identity theft cases had one thing in common: they were caused by an action taken by the user. That’s right, more than a third of identity thefts were not thefts, but giveaways!

So how do you avoid this happening to you and your company?

No one is 100% safe, but the following 3 tips will stop you from accidentally giving online criminals access to your computer network and confidential information:

1. Never visit or download free music files, videos or programs from file-sharing sites such as Kazaa. Not only are you downloading stolen materials, but these sites are surefire ways to introduce worms and viruses to your computer. If you are a business owner, set up web filtering software to prevent employees from downloading any unauthorized programs or files.

2. Never respond to any e-mail from a bank, credit card company, PayPal or online store where items are purchased (such as eBay) asking you to verify your account information, no matter how credible or legitimate it looks. These are phishing scams set up to access your account information.

3. Ask for identification from anyone asking for physical access to electronic equipment, and instruct staff do so as well. Just to test a theory, I asked a friend to walk into an office, say they are from “the phone company” responding to a problem, and ask to see the network. Access was granted to a complete stranger 100% of the time.

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