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Resources > Education Center > How To Protect Your Identity Online—A Complete Guide

How To Protect Your Identity Online—A Complete Guide

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With online activities like shopping, banking, and social media becoming deeply integrated into our daily lives, the digital age has brought unparalleled convenience. Unfortunately, it has also made personal information more vulnerable to identity thieves than ever before.

As your digital footprint grows bigger, you may wonder how to protect your identity online. The good news is there are steps you can take to safeguard your information and ensure your safety on the internet. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best practices for protecting your identity online and the products that can give you an extra layer of security.

Dangers of Sharing Personal Information Online

While many internet platforms may give an impression of privacy, sharing personal details on social media and elsewhere online can put your identity at risk. Posting your full name, address, birth date, and family details gives scammers ammunition to impersonate you or steal your identity.

Children are especially vulnerable to online identity theft for a few reasons:

  • Their personal information can sometimes be found online from sources like social media profiles, school websites, and activity registrations
  • They’re more likely to click suspicious links or download unverified software
  • Child identity theft often goes undetected for years, giving identity thieves sufficient time to get away with their crime

Why Should You Protect Your Identity Online?

Identity theft can have serious consequences in various aspects of your life. Here are the reasons you should protect your identity online:

Financial securityPersonal data stolen online can be used to open new accounts, secure loans, or make purchases in your name. Unauthorized transactions can also occur, damaging your credit score and causing financial loss
Personal safetyRevealing too much personal information on the internet can put your safety at risk. Cyberstalkers may exploit this information to harass, threaten, or even cause physical harm to you
Preserve reputationYour reputation can be at stake if cybercriminals misuse your identity. They may commit crimes or post inappropriate content using your identity, which can tarnish your professional life and relationships
Prevent work-related issuesFor professionals, an identity breach can have detrimental effects on their work. Many individuals have access to sensitive company data, and if this information is exposed, it can lead to financial and reputational damage to organizations
Protect assetsCybercriminals can target more than just your finances—with info found online, they can gain access to your digital assets, including photos, personal writings, or professional projects. Losing or having these assets held for ransom can be devastating, as they may be irreplaceable
Emotional well-beingFalling victim to online identity theft can result in stress, anxiety, and a sense of violation. Protecting your identity is crucial to avoid the emotional and psychological trauma associated with identity theft

How To Protect Your Online Identity

In an era of increasing digital threats, protecting your online identity is vital. Here are five ways to protect your identity on the internet:

  1. Use secure and unique passwords
  2. Enable two-factor authentication
  3. Be wary of phishing emails and malware
  4. Monitor your online accounts
  5. Be careful what you share publicly

Use Secure and Unique Passwords

To enhance your online security, it’s important to use unique passwords. Make sure to create complex passwords that consist of at least 12 characters and include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid reusing the same password for multiple websites or accounts, as this would allow hackers access to all your accounts if they uncover a single password.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Take advantage of the option to enable two-factor authentication whenever it’s offered for social media, email, and banking accounts. This adds an extra layer of security to the login process, which helps protect your accounts from unauthorized access.

Be Wary of Phishing Emails and Malware

Phishing emails and malicious software are common ways for thieves to steal personal information. Never click on links, download attachments, or provide sensitive data in response to unsolicited messages.

Be suspicious of messages from unknown senders or those with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes, as these may be from malicious people seeking to access your sensitive information. Keep your operating system and software up to date with the latest security options to minimize vulnerabilities.

Monitor Your Online Accounts

Check your online financial accounts, email, social media, and other websites frequently for signs of unauthorized access, such as unknown charges, messages you didn’t send, or changes to your profile information. Look out for spam emails pretending to be from a legitimate company to trick you into providing account numbers or passwords. Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, texts, or mail about your accounts as well.

Be Careful What You Share Publicly

It’s important to be cautious about what kind of details you share with the public. Sharing personal information such as addresses, birthdays, or current locations can unintentionally give cybercriminals or malicious individuals the opportunity to exploit that information. This can result in identity theft, stalking, or even physical harm.

Additionally, sharing too much information about your children not only exposes them to online predators but can also affect their future digital reputation and privacy. Every piece of information shared becomes a potential vulnerability, so it’s crucial to exercise discretion.

Products and Services To Assist With Online Identity Protection

When it comes to protecting your identity online, using specialized products and services can provide an extra layer of security. Here are five options you should consider:

  1. Password managers
  2. Two-factor authentication
  3. Virtual private networks
  4. Antivirus and anti-malware software
  5. Identity theft protection services

Password Managers

Password managers allow you to set unique, complex passwords for all your accounts without having to remember them. They use encryption to store all your login credentials in one place securely. This way, if a site is breached, your other accounts are still protected. These programs can also alert you to weak or duplicate passwords.

Two-Factor Authentication

Also known as 2FA, this technology adds an extra login step for many online services like email, banking, and social media. Usually, you’ll enter your password and get a code sent to your phone via text, call, or an authentication app—and while SMS texting is more convenient, using an app like Google Authenticator is more secure. Enable 2FA on any account that offers it to ensure maximum security.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

A VPN service encrypts all the data sent between your devices and the internet. This helps hide your online activities and location, securing your connection to public Wi-Fi and preventing snoopers. A VPN is useful when using unsecured networks, in addition to helping bypass geographic restrictions on streaming content.

Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software

You should rely on dedicated tools that scan your devices for viruses, malware, ransomware, and other threats that can steal login info, financial data, and personal details. Run regular system scans and keep these programs up to date. They provide active monitoring and protection for your online security.

Identity Theft Protection Services

While diligently monitoring your accounts and reputation is important, a dedicated ID theft protection service like FreeKick can provide an extra layer of surveillance. FreeKick monitors the dark web and other online sources for signs of your personal information being sold, shared illegally, or misused and alerts you of potential fraud and identity theft. FreeKick also offers reimbursement insurance if you do become a victim of identity theft.

Reduce the Risks of Online Identity Theft With FreeKick (Coming Soon)

Created by Austin Capital Bank, FreeKick combines a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured (FDIC-insured) deposit account with:

When you sign up for FreeKick, you gain access to a host of features that monitor, protect, and restore the identities of your family members so you can make sure your family is safe online.

ID Monitoring Services

Available for two adult parents and up to six minor or adult children, FreeKick helps ensure identity protection for the whole family through the following services:

Identity Protection Services for Adult Children and ParentsIdentity Protection Services for Minors
Credit profile monitoring
Social Security number monitoring
Dark Web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-Credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly
Credit profile monitoring
Social Security number monitoring
Dark Web monitoring for child’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address

Parent-Sponsored Credit Building

In addition to identity monitoring services for the whole family, FreeKick also offers automated credit-building services for your children aged 14 to 25. This can help them start their credit journey early and improve their creditworthiness. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create an Account—Visit FreeKick.bank and choose a suitable plan based on a one-time deposit. Once you’re done, select Activate Credit Building in the account dashboard
  2. Set It and Forget It—FreeKick will build 12 months of credit history for your child through a credit-builder loan while monitoring their credit profile. If they are legal adults, your child’s credit history will be reported to the three major consumer credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). If they are still minors, they will have to activate credit reporting once they turn 18 (19 in Alabama), as credit bureaus don’t accept it for minors
  3. Keep Growing—Once the 12-month term expires, you can renew the account for another term or close it and get 100% of your deposit back

Unlike other services that require monthly subscriptions, FreeKick offers budget pricing options depending on your one-time deposit. All plans include premium identity protection for two parents and up to six children aged 0 to 25 and credit building for six children aged 14 to 25. Each plan is FDIC-insured up to $250,000—take a look at the offer below:

DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)

Identity monitoring will remain active only while the account is open. If you decide to close the account, you’ll get your deposit back, but the security measures will cease. Since credit bureaus don’t allow credit reporting for minors, no credit history will be reported for the account if the child is a minor at the time of closure.

Reduce the risk of online identity theft and help your child enjoy a brighter financial future—sign up for FreeKick today.

Freekick provides a double dose of financial empowerment and security for your whole family. It helps teens and young adults build strong credit profiles and offers identity motoring for up to two adult parents and six children under 25.

Freekick: ID Protection & Credit Building

Protect Your Family’s Identities
Safeguard up to 2 parents & 6 children
Build Your Child’s Credit
Build credit for your children ages 13-25. Good credit can save them $200,000 over their life!
Pay $0 A Year
Make a one-time deposit of $2,500 or pay $149/year with no deposit
Powered by Austin Capital Bank
FreeKick is a combination of a FDIC-insured deposit account, credit building, & identity monitoring services

Get 10% off on the first 3 monthly payments

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