6 Simple Ways To Protect Yourself Online

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Here are some safety tips to safeguard yourself online from fraud and identity theft:

  1. Learn to Recognize Phishing and Spear Phishing Attempts

Phishing attacks come with nonspecific offers and give unrealistic promises in the hope of luring you into providing personal information without you realizing there’s a problem early. Spear phishing are targeted attacks to try and get additional information from individuals who may be at risk because their account at another organization may have been hacked, their employer suffered a data breach, or some other information is already available about them. In both cases, the most beneficial skill you can learn is a healthy sense of internet skepticism.

2.      Be Wary of Emails and Attachments

You should have the knowledge now that you should never open attachments from untrusted sources, and even if you get one from a trusted source, take note of the file extension of the attachment before downloading and opening it. If you get an official-looking email from your bank, credit union, or another company you do business with telling you to log in and review your account, be careful. Even if it’s legit, it’s always safer to visit the business’ web site by typing in the URL instead of clicking the link in the email.

3. Always Update Your Anti-Malware Software

You should have the knowledge now that you should never open attachments from untrusted sources, and even if you get one from a trusted source, take note of the file extension of the attachment before downloading and opening it. If you get an official-looking email from your bank, credit union, or another company you do business with telling you to log in and review your account, be careful. Even if it’s legit, it’s always safer to visit the business’ web site by typing in the URL instead of clicking the link in the email.

4.      Use HTTPS Everywhere, As Much As You Can

While it’s not foolproof, making sure you’re connected to as many of your favorite sites over SSL is the best way to make sure you’re actually talking to the site you think you’re talking to, and to make sure your communications with that site are encrypted.

5.      Strong Passwords Are Non-negotiable and Change Them Regularly

Learn to use strong and secure passwords that only can know. Choose passwords that use letters, numbers, caps, and special characters if possible, they are quite secure.

6.      Be doubtful and Careful

Always have some measure of skepticism. It may be more inconvenient to pick up the phone and call a business that just emailed you asking for your credit card number to process a payment than it is to just reply and email it to them, but speaking as someone who used to work in corporate IT, we paid close attention when our network monitors noticed outbound emails with credit card numbers in them. When someone asks you for something that just doesn’t seem right, set it aside until you can clear up why they need the information.

 

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