People who want to know more about protecting their identity online can attend a course hosted by the Vancouver Public Library today at 2:00 p.m. PT today.

The course, called Protecting your Online Identity, is one of 1,500 courses the library offers and the program director says both seniors and teenagers can benefit from the class.

"Most people are aware of what they're doing online but some may not know the strategies they can use to mitigate the damage they might do," said Anne O'Shea, manager of programming and learning.

People often aren't aware of how much control they have over their online information, said O'Shea.

For instance, owners of health forums, where people discuss and share information about symptoms or treatments, may accommodate requests to take names off their website, she said.

"Often the website will scrub, say their name and their email address and their signature out of that so that they aren't identified as somebody who shares that health concern."

On the other hand, people also underestimate how careful they should be when it comes to releasing identifying details online.

"Especially if you're new to this, this can be very intimidating and you might not know what is the inherent risk associated with somebody collecting that information," said O'Shea.

The library also offers a course for more experienced users, called Digital and Online Safety.

It covers big data collection, identity theft, GPS services, WiFi protection, passwords, and more.

To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: How to protect your identity online according to the Vancouver Public Library.