Give yourself credit: Protect your credit identity

If you’re reading this on your computer, surely you have antivirus and firewall software installed. Given that you probably have many passwords and much private information on that computer, you need that protection.

It occurred to me this week that another step we should take to protect our credit is to heed the number of credit cards we have listed on sites like Amazon and Paypal. Information hacks happen infrequently at these huge sites — but what if they do? Or what if someone steals your computer and hacks into your passwords? (Or worse, can just log onto the site to charge everything under the sun to your Visa — you don’t have Web sites save your passwords, do you?)

If you *do* have sites save your passwords and you’d like it to stop, you might need to contact the site directly. But on most computers, first go to the Tools menu and then to Options. Look for options like “Clear Private Data,” “Clear Cookies,” and “Clear History” to have your inputs no longer just pop up on screen.

Then go to the Web sites and check what’s on file. The last time I went to Amazon, I realized I had six cards listed there. They had multiplied bit by bit — when I needed to order something for work, I added my business card; I switched my main credit card and added another; once I ordered something with my debit card and on it went, and so on.

The obvious danger: If someone stole my laptop, figured out my password, they could max out all my credit cards faster than you can say “holy security code, Batman!” Be careful with debit cards, too — they could allow access to your whole bank account.

Leave one and axe the rest — just in case.

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One thought on “Give yourself credit: Protect your credit identity

  1. Dael says:

    Very wise post, thanks. I can add a little. I’ve got small online business. I’m using my credit card on Amazon. I’ve got PayPal account. I mean I’m integrated in online markets, and it’s good. But. The security comes on the first place there. So, I use Agnitum Outpost Security Suite to fight against viruses, spam, trojan horses, etc. I use TrueCrypt to encrypt my personal data. Feeling good. 🙂

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