Safeguard your personal information on video game consoles

Video game consoles don’t just let you play games both online and offline – they have lots of other features too. Depending on the make and model, you may also be able to surf the internet, stream videos and do more things online through your console.

This connectivity can have downsides, though, like putting your personal information at the risk of identity theft. A hack into the Playstation Network in 2011 saw 77 million users’ personal details potentially compromised. This included names, addresses, dates of birth, email addresses, and passwords to the network – information that identity thieves could use to sell on to other cybercriminals, or to use to pretend to be you in order to commit crimes. If the console is used by a child, there could be extra safety worries involved.

How can identity thieves access your information?

When you’re connected to a network through your gaming device, you run the risk of Trojan horses, viruses, worms and spyware. These can help identity thieves to collect personal data about you.

How to protect yourself

There are several ways in which you can try to minimise the risk of identity theft through your video game console. These include the following:

  • Make sure that your passwords are strong and secure.
  • Use a separate email address for gaming.
  • Make sure that you have antivirus software installed, and make sure you get regular updates.
  • Only purchase games and other goods and services through reputable sellers.
  • Monitor your credit report regularly to ensure that your financial details haven’t been stolen and used to apply for credit in your name.
  • If your children use video game consoles, make sure to educate them on the risks of sharing information online, as well as how to safeguard these details.

Your Equifax Credit Report & Score – which is free for the first 30 days then £14.95 a month – gives you unlimited access to the information on your report. You’ll also get weekly alerts of any significant changes on your report. This can help you to check that you’re aware of all of the activity on your report, and to seek help if you spot anything suspicious.

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