We all think it’s never going to happen to us, but many people find their personal information compromised. Many times, we have no control; like if there is a breach at our doctor’s office or credit card company. However, most dangers can be reduced by taking precautions with our everyday internet use. Always connect over secure, password connected networks. Reduce the use of public networks like coffee shops (I personally never use them).
Banks and credit card companies will NEVER ask for your personal information online or over the phone. Think: they already have all your information! Cyber criminals are very sophisticated and can fashion an email with all the logos, bells, and whistles. Don’t be fooled. If you have questions, call your bank.
Often, we receive emails seemingly from a friend or colleague. Check the return email; if it’s different, it’s fake. Never, never, never click on a link in an email from someone you don’t know. Even if you do know the person, it’s best to enter the URL by hand rather than clicking on the link. Clicking on a bad link can introduce viruses and let in cyber criminals.
Speaking of viruses, always use good computer security software like Norton. Make sure all updates are downloaded and applied as soon as you are notified. Every week, new viruses and cyber dangers come around and all security software will have updates to deal with them. I also use Norton when I’m online as my safe search. An additional malware preventer like Malwarebytes is also a good idea.
Social media is becoming a favorite spot for hackers and information thieves. Make sure your privacy settings are up to date and be circumspect with what information you share. Information shared publicly is just that: public.
Be careful and change passwords often. Never use birthdates, addresses, or parts of your social security number. Instead, use symbols and numbers in random order. Password protect all devices that have access to the internet.
As with all things in this world, trust your gut. Offers online that sound too good to be true are just that, too good.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO