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5 Online Habits That Are Putting You At Risk

Personal information is currency in the underground world of cybercrime. More than 772,000 Australians have been victims of identity theft in the past 12 months alone!

Our digital devices hold much of our personal data, serving as one of our most valuable assets. Over the years, many of us have formed bad habits that could enable criminals to easily hack into our personal and financial information.

Veda recently launched the only standalone cyber-monitoring service of its kind in Australia: Identity Watch. The service monitors information such as your email address, credit card and bank details and alerts you if these personal details are being illegally traded in online forums where they shouldn’t be. Keep reading for a fantastic giveaway for Simple Living followers!

Here are five online habits that put you at risk of identity theft, plus tips on how to can prevent this from happening.

1. RISK: Using the same password for multiple accounts

First things first: if you’re using the same old password for all your accounts – this needs to change!

Make passwords hard-to-guess – Get into the habit of changing your passwords regularly and make them difficult to guess. Use a different one for all major websites.
Password managers – Web-based and mobile app-based password managers are a great way to store all your passwords in one secure database, housed on your computer or in the cloud. Select one very strong master password which grants you access to all your different passwords.

2. RISK: Online banking via public Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is convenient but some networks are more secure than others. Be wary of the tempting ‘Free Wi-Fi’ hotspot which could have been set up by online criminals to access personal details.

Create a VPN – Creating a virtual private network (VPN) makes it more difficult for criminals to access your details. The VPN encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN server, giving you the security of a private network while using a public one.
Bank later – Your online banking details are pure gold for online fraudsters, so don’t make it easy for them to steal your banking credentials. If you need to transfer funds or check your account balance, hold off until you have access to a hotspot connection you trust.

3. RISK: Oversharing on social media

Social media is the new criminal hotspot where hackers can easily access your personal information.

Check your privacy settings – When creating a new Facebook account, the default setting is a public profile which allows your friends and their networks to see all your information. Regularly check your Facebook privacy settings to control who can see your social posts, and how much they can see.
Think before you share – Before you post, think about how criminals can easily piece together the information you share on social media. Be careful sharing holiday plans and happy snaps on social media. Letting potential thieves know you’re away from home can make you vulnerable to mail theft and break-ins.

4. RISK: Being too liberal with online shopping

Online shopping is the new normal for its simplicity and convenience. But it’s also simple and convenient for cyber criminals to tap into your details online. Remember these helpful hints to keep your online shopping experience safe:

Look for the S in https – Only transfer money on websites that start with ‘https’ (that means it’s a secure site). It should have a small image of a closed padlock system.
Do your research – Think twice if you don’t know the company emailing you about the sale on their latest product, as anyone can create a website. Scammers sell their product cheaply to entice you and access your credit card details.

5. RISK: Ignoring computer software updates

Those software update pop up notifications may be annoying, but they’re very important. Make it difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information by following these security tips:

Regularly update your operating system – This is important to fix any security holes that may be present in the system.
Invest in antivirus software – Security for your computer helps to prevent, detect, and remove viruses from your device.

Stay safe with Identity Watch

Sign up to a cyber-monitoring service such as Identity Watch which can watch your back if something slips through the cracks. For as little as the price of a takeaway coffee a month ($3.99), Identity Watch can help protect your identity.

Head to to find out more about how Identity Watch can protect you from cybercrime.


You have the opportunity to win a free 12-month subscription to Identity Watch, valued at $72. Simply tell us in 25 words or less why Identity Watch would benefit you. Maybe you’ve had an identity theft scare in the past? Or you’re guilty of providing your credit card details to a dodgy online store?

Email [email protected] with your answers and we will notify the winner by May 31, 2015.

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