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The internet often feels organized, simple, and safe. However, scammers and hackers use a variety of tricks to take advantage of the unprepared and compromise personal information.

While one cannot reduce the risk of identity theft completely, there are a series of steps you should take that reduce the likelihood of a data breach.

Social Networks

Social networks let you connect with friends around the world, potential employers, and even follow your favorite celebrities. But most people provide more personal information on social media than is advisable.

Think about what you would knowingly tell a complete stranger about yourself. If there’s information on your social profiles you wouldn’t tell a stranger, chances are you should probably take it down.

While the fact that you’re in a relationship, that you visited Thailand two years ago or that you’ll be on vacation in a week, may not seem like a big deal to share, in the wrong hands, even this kind of information can be used to scam you.

Every detail a hacker or scammer has about you is another way into your online life. 

Passwords

It’s time-consuming, but strong passwords are one of your greatest weapons against scammers.

We’re talking passwords, plural. Don’t recycle the same password for multiple sites. Identity theft can cause exponential harm if one password gets a hacker access to your email, financial accounts and online shopping accounts.

Use a password generator for every one of your passwords. Keep track of your passwords with a password manager.

Recovery

The threat of a data breach can never be eliminated. However, the damage, if one does occur, can be minimized.

With an identity theft prevention and recovery service, such as LifeLock, you won’t be alone. LifeLock monitors your bank accounts, Social Security number and will even your name on the dark web.

If there is a breach, the company has a designated response team to do the heavy lifting and help you report the breach to the proper authorities and begin the recovery process. With a LifeLock coupon, you can get this premium service for a promotional rate. 

Antivirus

While a recovery service is really your last line of defense, in front of it should always be a solid and fully updated antivirus program.

There are a host of free and paid options on the market, but it’s best you pick a trusted name, like BitDefender or Norton, both of which are leaders in the antivirus field.

BitDefender commonly has sales that drop its price by 50-60 percent, and while it is often resource-heavy on your computer, it also provides you with a password manager. Norton, on the other hand, is less taxing on your computer’s CPU, and blocks even the newest malware.

Take Online Safety Seriously

Value your privacy. If you wouldn’t tell a stranger the information, it probably shouldn’t be on your social media accounts.

Personal information can be used against you. Random passwords are difficult to remember but are integral for secure internet habits.

Remember them all with a password manager. Get a safety net like LifeLock that monitors and backs you up if a scammer or hacker gets a hold of your information.

And always make sure your computers are protected with robust and reputable antivirus software. While there is no way to completely eliminate the threat of a data breach, these steps will minimize your risk.