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Tips to help you avoid being a cybercrime victim

October 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in the way they steal personal information and infect computers, but in a just released survey from the credit reporting agency Experian, consumers themselves are making it even easier for the criminals to do their malicious

"The thing that surprised us is nine million people a year are victims of cyber attacks," said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for Experian.

The study, conducted by Experian's ProtectMyID website, found 66 percent of consumers make such mistakes as using the same password for at least two of their accounts if not more.

"If one of those accounts happens to be attacked and someone obtains that password, they can fairly easily then go to the rest of your life and have access to those various accounts as well," said Chaplin.

Social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular, just as cybercriminals using those sites to gather your private and personal habits. That's because the survey shows 51 percent of users don't click the logout link when done or manage their privacy settings.

"Privacy settings could change, what you thought was private is now based on the setting public and it's up to you to stay on top of those changes," said Chaplin.

Today's smartphones, loaded with your personal data, are another source for cybercrooks, especially if one is lost or stolen. Yet 54 percent of smartphone owners don't use a password to lock their phone or tablet.

"Everyone carries around their entire computer in their pocket nowadays so it's pretty scary the amount of data that's available on a phone," said Chaplin.

If you feel your account has been hacked, make sure to contact your bank and credit card companies right away. And file a police report, even if they can't help, so you have a record of the crime to help clear your name.

Get more tips to help you defend yourself from cybercrime at ProtectMyID.com.


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