With just over a day left for March 2013, Fraud Prevention Month will soon be coming to an end as well. This definitely does not mean that we can release the reigns and be carefree with our sensitive information once April 1st begins (though there might be an interesting April Fools prank in there somewhere…,) but I’m hoping that you fabulous readers got a great tip or two out of Geek with Style’s earlier post this month on not taking risks with your personal information!

Congratulations to Stacey H. for winning the $100 Visa gift card!!

My brother has a fabulous tip for keeping your credit cards virtually safe while dealing with online shopping.  Essentially, don’t use them whenever possible.  Use these Visa gift cards in place of your regular credit cards when you can.  By utilizing these throw-away cards instead, there is no way for a hacker to get hold of those important cards of yours.

We were just shy of 60 awesome tips to keeping you and your identity protected, and here are some of my faves:

  • Change passwords and clear cache often. ~ Phalanx
  • I use different passwords for email, each online banking site, social media etc. if one area is compromised or hacked etc, then my password is still secure for other sites. i also regularly change my passwords and also make sure to clear cookies and always log-off sites properly. ~ lelalacc
  • I always make sure my browser has the ‘lock’ symbol at the top of my browser to let me know that it’s safe to make purchases online at those stores. ~ Jeannie
  • I only use home computer to log into most of my important accounts and I change my passwords every few months for added protection. ~ Tony
  • Make sure to change your password often. Also check your bank and credit card statements carefully. Thieves will sometimes start stealing as small amounts as .50 cents from your account to see if you are paying attention and then they start increasing the amount every month. You might just think it’s a fee being charged by the company. Pay attention. ~ Sandra Martin

And just in case you’re still look for a really good antivirus programs, here are my top four free ones (in order):

  1. Avast Antivirus (Free Version)
  2. Avira Antivirus
  3. Ad-Aware Antivirus (Completely new program, only the name is the same, and is supposed to run more smoothly.)
  4. Kaspersky Antivirus

If you’re now asking, “Where’s AVG?”  I cannot in good conscious ever recommend this program.  The number of family and friend’s computers that I’ve had to fix or reinstall because AVG didn’t do the promised job, is more than I care to count (okay, there were 7 of them.)  AVG would look like its working, but when I would install a stronger (free) antivirus program, it would find a TON of trojan’s that weren’t picked up by AVG.  Not cool.

And some extras for the extra careful:

In all honesty, I don’t recommend skimping on costs when it comes to internet and personal computer security, BUT sometimes this is all we can afford (I’ve been there,) and the ones listed above will do the best they can to keep your computer clean and free.  If you CAN afford it though, invest in hardcore antivirus and security from companies like Avast, McAffee, or Nortons.

Stay safe!