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Online security is something many of us take for granted when we enter our credit card information or set up an email account. Add to that the growing presence of social media in our lives and becoming the victim of a hack could be catastrophic.

We've all heard the horror stories of identity theft and hacking, so what's the best way to protect oneself? 

A recent survey by AVG Technologies, a top provider of mobile and Internet security has conducted a survey of 15 Canadian and US cities to reveal which city is safest. Here are the results and what you can do to stay safe on the Internet.

How to Be Safe on the Internet

The "winner" (safest place) of the survey is Austin, Texas. The study focused on preventing identity theft, stolen debit cards and fraudulent credit card purchases, in addition to loss of personal data.

The survey showed that 65 percent of Americans are good about keeping mobile or online passwords private. Canada, on the other hand, ranked at 70 percent, showing a looser approach to online and digital threats. But the potentially threatening find is that less than InternetSafetyArticle-618525 percent of Canadians and US citizens enact a monitoring tool or service to protect online identity. Less than 50 percent of people, however, recognize the need to do implement such a program.

More than 50 percent of the US use a USB stick or external hard drive to back up their computer data, while 54 percent of Canadians back up their systems. Yet 45 percent of Canadians and 34 percent of Americans would “be in a pickle” if their phones or tablets were lost or stolen, having to manually re-enter data.

One third of US consumers use just one debit or credit card for online purchases as opposed to 46 percent of Canadians. And both countries could be better in checking bank statements for inaccuracies. Thirty-eight percent of Americans and 28 percent of Canadians check their bank or credit card statements.

Stay Protected Online

  • Install a free antivirus program on all online devices.
  • Use just one credit card with a set, low, spending limit when you shop online. Make sure you check this account regularly for discrepancies. If you find problems, let your bank InternetSafetyTipsA3-6185or credit card company know immediately.
  • Change your passwords frequently and never, ever tell anyone what they are.
  • Back up your computer data and mobile phone, tablet regularly. And be mindful that you need to protect your information on your mobile devices as you come and go.
  • Never click on suspicious links from financial institutions. Just go to their website and use their URL.

Have you ever been robbed on the Internet? Tell us your story on Facebook or Twitter!

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