4 tips to prevent online identity theft

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An expert in cyber security says four simple things can decrease the risk of Internet identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau is hosting a free conference on Internet security in Grand Rapids on Wednesday. One expert who will be speaking at the conference, a virtual systems administrator with the Trivalent Group tech firm out of Grandville, said there are simple steps you can take to protect your personal information online.

It only took Andy Syrewicze seconds to find a hole in the security of one 24 Hour News 8 laptop: An outdated operating system.

Syrewicze says keeping an operating system, along with programs like Adobe and Java, updated can help prevent identity theft. He also recommends anti-virus and anti-malware software to decrease the risk of a security breach.

“So if you do those things, you’re really at a good base line for being very secure,” he said.

And, he said, common sense is an important tool.

Syrewicze reminded not to open or respond to unusual emails or click on pop-up ads, which is how most people become victims of online identity theft.

“It could happen to you, so you need to take steps to secure your machine,” Syrewicze said.

Syrewicze also said paying attention to the news about the latest threats can help you avoid a problem.

And, he said, people using tablets and smartphones should read reviews of apps before downloading them.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to protect your personal information, you can sign up to attend the BBB’s Cyber Security Conference from 7:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus.