The single best step you can take to prevent thieves from using the Internet to steal your identity is to invest in a good-quality firewall and anti-virus protection software. The first line of computer defense is a strong firewall. For every 6 minutes that your computer is connected to the web someone from another country will probably "ping" your internet port to see if you are running a firewall. If you aren't running a firewall, you will be targeted for further attacks.
When you go online, your computer is potentially visible to everyone else on the Internet. This is a necessary thing; you have to make your presence known in order to connect with other computers. And you need to open your computer's virtual doors to exchange information. However, that means your computer and its entrances are also visible to cybercriminals.
Keep Your PC Running at Peak Performance. Virus infections and hackers can cause just as many system problems as hardware failures do. In fact, a lot of the new viruses out there can override or even reformat files on your hard drive. Hackers who break into your PC can wreak havoc on your system - and, even worse, steal personal information stored on your computer.