The Internet has opened a lot of doors for businesses. Unfortunately, too often those doors are left open for criminals. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing categories of crime in the United States for the simple reason that it’s becoming easier all the time.

With so many of us using smartphones and other connected devices to conduct business, there are many more opportunities for hackers to sneak into our systems. They can swipe our credit card numbers, financial statements and personal information. Once they have it, they can use this information to steal from us or even ruin our lives. It’s more important than ever to take steps to secure your online identity.

For example, it’s always a good idea to improve the strength of your passwords. An unfortunate number of people choose simple and commonly used passwords because they’re easy to remember, but thieves can guess them fairly easily. In addition, implementing two-factor authentication provides an extra level of security that makes it more difficult for attackers to get what they want.

If you have employees who work remotely, you should remind them that unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots should be avoided in general. That’s because it’s too easy for criminals to break into or create decoy networks to trap unsuspecting users.

There is a brave new world out there for a business on the Internet, but it brings with it new threats. For more tips on protecting yourself and your company online, see the accompanying checklist.

Protecting Your Online Identity from Arkus

Author bio: Bob Arden has been a licensed private detective in Illinois for more than 30 years with Arkus, Inc. He has provided investigative services to Fortune 500 companies, attorneys, insurance companies and private individuals. His experience and knowledge have led to successful results for clients.