ID Theft Protect: 10 Smart Ways to Protect Your Online Identity

Shoeboxed has always been dedicated to helping you stay safe online by helping you get organized and limiting the amount of information you have to share with stores. There are lots of other things that you can do to protect yourself, so we sought out the experts to lay it on ya. Julian from ID Theft Protect shared some thoughts with us.

Written by: Julian Evans, Identity Theft Expert and CEO from ID Theft Protect

1. Why use shoeboxed.com?

Shoeboxed.com is a safe and secure way to track what you buy and when. Never print out a receipt nor provide your personal email address to online shopping sites ever again! Shoeboxed.com will help to simplify your life and give you more control over your personal online shopping data which we all at ID Theft Protect believe is an important step in giving the control back to the individual: you!

2. Web filters and safe browsing

Web filtering software allows you and your family the opportunity to control content, blacklist or white list websites and set up passwords. Other powerful options included with some software include, popup and personal information blocking and chat room monitoring.

Safe browsing software allows you to control access to all but selected websites. If you want to control which websites your children see, then this is the solution for you. Other types of safe browsing tools include browser plug-ins which helps you avoid web pages with unwanted content and hidden threats, by rating each page and pages listed in Google, MSN and Yahoo for example.

3. Spam filter

Spam Filter software is an essential tool in today’s world as more and more of us are being spammed. This type of software can be purchased with an Internet Security Suite or as a standalone. Spam filters reduce not eliminate those annoying spam emails and place them into a quarantined folder before they reach your inbox. ID Theft Protect suggests you also consider using an Email Signature Generator which is a service that creates an image file that can be read by humans but not spammers’ robots.

4. Anti-virus

Anti-virus software is an essential tool in protecting your computer. Nearly everyone understands the need for anti-virus, but very few people understand what it does. Anti-virus software detects, repairs, cleans and removes malicious software from your computer. There are currently two types of anti-virus software: one which is signature based (relies on regular updates) and the other is heuristic – which learns and adapts from user and application behaviour (i.e. monitors what you do and when and which applications are running and when)

5. Password Managers

Never have the same password for more than one computer program. Use a password manager software program. You can find information on password managers at ID Theft Protect. You are safe and secure to store your bank chip and pin, national insurance number (NINO), social security number (SSN), banking/checking account details and more in these programs.

6. Prepaid Credit cards and web cards

The prepaid credit card allows you to top your card up with money which you can use at retailers and online shopping websites. The main security advantages of these cards are you do not expose your bank and credit card accounts and you can also control the amount you wish to top up. Another card offered by some banks include what is called a ‘web card’ – it’s not plastic (it’s a virtual online payment card) and best of all your card details are never exposed online. ID Theft Protect suggests individuals should use a “pre-paid” or “web” credit card when shopping on the internet.

7. Firewall

A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet. The barrier will open and close dependent on the rules set by the firewall. Most firewall programs use default settings as standard, and this will be sufficient to protect your computer from attack. For those of you wishing to have more control, most Firewall software allows you access to advanced settings. TIP: ID Theft Protect suggests you do not use the default Windows Firewall as it only filters incoming traffic. Outgoing traffic should also be filtered as your computer may already be compromised.

8. Anti-Malware

Malware (malicious software) is software that compromises computers to steal personal information or damage your computer system. Anti-Malware software will protect your computer from Adware, Bots, Root kits, Pharming and Spyware. Anti-Malware software should be used in addition to your anti-virus and firewall software.

9. Use Encryption Software

Instead of using your C and/or D drive to store your computer data, you should always use a software encryption program. This software program creates a secure drive in which to work from as well as protect your data from malicious programs, and best of all most work, look and feel the same as Windows XP. TIP: Store your outlook.pst and password manager file on the secure drive for added security!

10. Wi-Fi and Hotspot security

Make sure your home or office Wi-Fi network is secure using WPA encryption instead of the default WEP security setting. Refer to the user manual, or why not visit ID Theft Protect to learn more about the WPA setting. For those of you who use Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, hotels and airports for example, ID Theft Protect suggests you use Hotspot security software.

TIP: Keep your Microsoft Windows and Office updated with the latest security updates. Remember to keep your security software (anti-Malware, anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware and firewall) updated as well. Finally do not forget to visit ID Theft Protect for all the latest on identity fraud and data privacy.

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ID Theft Protect is a leading resource for individuals and small enterprises who want to protect themselves against Identity Theft, Identity Fraud and Data Privacy. The website is designed to identify how at threat individuals are personally, and provide information and solutions to both current and future threats to their privacy. The site is interactive allowing individuals to build their own personal profile, and take the steps necessary to protect themselves.

Check out their quiz here.

Happy Cyber Monday

So today is Cyber Monday, according to Shop.org. This is the biggest day of the year for online shopping. And as a platform that exists to help you in organizing your online and offline receipts, we’re obviously excited.

Well, actually, as much as we like online shopping, we are not necessarily fond of every holiday neologism that is being made up by the industry. I’m thinking back to an old episode of The Simpsons, where they create a new holiday called Love Day just to drive up sales of terrible merchandise.

The term “Cyber-Monday” was coined in 2005, when ComScore reported that online spending increased by 26% on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, compared to the year before.

There may be a lot of reasons for this (one for sure is that online spending is simply increasing by two-digit percent numbers every year, no matter what day it is) but the whole reason it was given such a moniker makes it seem like just another marketing stunt.

With things like Valentine’s or Mother’s day, which are also heavily pushed by businesses, we at least have something (or someone) to care for on these days. Yes Valentine’s Day is commercial but we’re willing to accept it because it’s also about love and family affection. Cyber Monday is different. It seems like it’s a cold, impersonal online shopping day. And there aren’t any holiday decorations.

Nevertheless, we love deals. And a lot of stores use this new holiday to bring you some of those. So, while keeping the criticism about useless marketing buzzwords up, we will happily enjoy getting a good bargain.

If you’re like us, you can get the best overview of what stores offer what kind of discount, here .

We hope you get a good deal and wish you a good week!

Holiday Shopping with Shoeboxed!

Deals, deals, deals. As of yesterday, they are officially all over the place. And they’ll be everywhere throughout the holiday season shopping rush. Whether you go out with the family to your local mall and spend the entire day there, or if you decide to stay at home and take advantage of the many online store deals, it’s a pretty fun time of year.

Use your Shoeboxed email address to buy online and scan or upload images of the paper receipts you get in stores this season. Not only will all your receipts be quickly organized, but you will also be able to share your newest acquisitions with other shoppers looking for inspiration.

Here are a few tips for a great holiday shopping season:

1. Check online deals. People too often overlook the deals made available by online stores and just head off to the mall. Be sure to go online and search for items you are interested in buying. You may find some very attractive deals.

2. If you go out to shop, check store opening times and try to go as early as possible to be sure that you will get the items you want at the price they were advertised for. The great deals usually run out quickly on Black Friday, but it’s also true for the rest of the holiday season at many stores.

3. Check the newspaper! Some great deals are revealed only in the newspaper, can be missed if you’re not looking.

4. Solicit the help of friends! Getting a recommendation from another shopper is invaluable. Sift through all the ads, and actually get want you want this shopping season.

This week is one of the most exciting times of the year for shopping. Unfortunately, it can also be a very disorganized and frantic time. Make sure you shop online with your Shoeboxed email address and organize all your receipts on your free Shoeboxed account!