Identity Theft Protection

November 29, 2013

Since the fastest growing crime in America today is identity theft, its critical that everyone who uses a computer have an identity theft protection plan in place to protect themselves, including under age children, from the 5 common types of identity theft: Drivers License, Social Security Number, Personal, Medical and Financial.

The bad guys commit identity theft for three reasons, its profitable, likelihood of actually getting caught is very LOW, and it is that it is incredibly EASY!!  While most know that you shouldn’t throw documents with important information out in the trash and that you never provide your social security or credit card numbers to an unsolicited caller, most people do a poor job of protecting their computers from on-line, Internet based attacks.  Identity theft protection isn’t an option, it must be viewed as mandatory.

Computers are constantly under attack, either directly or indirectly, while online.  Viruses can come through in an email, by visiting an infected website, by downloading free software that or even just having a malicious advertisement appear on their favorite web page.  To effectively protect you, your computer and it’s data, a proactive and multi-layer strategy MUST be taken that is both offensive and defensive in nature.

So, what does that mean and look like in practice?   A FULL and PAID internet security program that offers a firewall and anti-virus protection is a MUST.  However, installing it isn’t enough.  Many features of the program aren’t turned on and must be configured properly to experience the full benefits of it’s identity theft protection.  Unfortunately, none of the providers tell you this AND they don’t provide any advice or guidance as to what the best practices are.  Therefore, its recommended that a professional install and configure the software.  While there are a number of providers that offer a limited, free version of their software, its just that, limited.  The bad guys know that the free versions are hugely popular and take advantage of this by exploiting them.

Web browsers are our windows to the Internet.  As a result, they are a glaring security hole if not set up to protect your identity while online.  Without proper configuration, they keep a record of where you have been and the passwords you use to sign in to.  The file that contains all your online usernames and passwords and is very easy to get in to for bad guys.  We recommend that you NEVER have your web browser remember your user names and passwords.  There are also a number of web browser add on’s that are very useful in removing web page ads and blocking tracking cookies that are also highly recommended to keep bad guys out and your personal privacy private.

Software updates are a pain.  It seems that they are always popping up windows asking if you want to update some program.  You may frequently see them for Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Java, Air, Shockwave, iTunes, Quicktime or a number of other pieces of software installed on your PC.  These updates frequently don’t improve the functionality of it, rather they are plugging critical security holes that the bad guys are using to gain access to your PC.  Most are pretty quickly downloaded and installed, and we recommend taking a few minutes and doing them as soon as you see their request.

Finally, a credit monitoring service is a very good idea, its cheap insurance.  But, it is important to know that not all identity theft protection services are created equal.  Some will just tell you that your privacy has been compromised and then you have to work to get the mess straightened out.  We recommend that you use a service that will actually assist you in making the necessary repairs.  You can generally get this type of coverage for you and your family, including under age children, for about $16-$20 a month.  That is a great deal when you consider that it can take dozens or even hundreds of hours to do clean it all up yourself.  Leave it to an expert and have the peace of mind that you are protected from identity theft.

If you live in the Kansas City area, including Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe, Kansas City, Lenexa, Prairie Village, or Leawood, and want to know more about how to best protect yourself from identity theft, Prairie Star Technology has the tools and expertise to keep you safe.  If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, we can make sure your computer is clean and virus free so that its unlikely that it will happen again.

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Founded in 2010, Prairie Star Technology is an independent IT service and support firm located in Overland Park, KS.  We offer on-site computer repair in Prairie Village and  throughout the greater Kansas City area and remote help desk support nationally.  We specialize in improving computer performance, reliability and security for residential and small business customers.  We are focused on providing fast, professional and CompTIA certified computer support to small business and individual clients nationwide.   Our unique managed service program, Complete Computer Care, combines remote monitoring, preventative maintenance and Internet security all in one bundled offering starting at $15.99 a month.

If you would like to find out more about how we can improve your computers security to better protect your personal identity, documents, pictures and other data and make your computer faster and more fun to use, call us at 913/730-6262 or on our Contact Us page.  If you are going to take on the risks of the Internet, you owe it to your data to have the best Internet security possible.

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Call us if you are concerned about identity theft, we offer onsite services locally in Kansas City, including Overland Park, Shawnee, Olathe, Kansas City, Lenexa, Prairie Village, or Leawood.  We also provide services nationally.

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