Add a VPN to Surf the Internet Safely

To help you fight identity theft, consider adding a VPN.

male hand holding phone with app vpn over laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

By monitoring your internet browsing activity, identity thieves can steal personal information and use it to hack into your financial accounts. And ID theft has spiked during the pandemic. The number of cases more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, to nearly 1.4 million, according to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission.

One way to protect yourself is by using a virtual private network. With a VPN, your connection is encrypted, which means anyone trying to monitor it will see nothing more than an unintelligible sequence of letters and numbers. A VPN also hides your IP address from the websites you visit. An IP address is a unique online identifier, and it can help hackers stitch together information about you.

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Emma Patch
Staff Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.