Keep your personal information safe online
Cybersecurity is more important than ever. Scammers are always coming up with new ways to hack into your personal computer, phone, or tablet to gain access to your personal information. They have a variety of tactics, so it is important to be aware of their approach so you know how to protect your personal information. Below are a few types of scams to be aware of along with ways to protect yourself against them. We will also explain what to do if you think you have been the victim of a scam.
One common approach is phishing scams. Phishing scams use fake emails or web pages that are designed to look real. They often ask for personal information like the recipient’s bank account information, their Social Security number, or password. If you are asked for personal information like this, make sure to double check the URL or email address that is requesting the information. If it looks suspicious (for example, if it has bad grammar or misspelled words), it is likely a fraudulent email or web page.
Ransomware is a form of malware that cyber criminals use to freeze a computer, phone, or tablet in order to steal data or demand that a “random” be paid. Ransomware can be installed by visiting suspicious websites or by clicking on links or opening attachments in emails from an email address you don’t recognize. A good way to avoid these attacks is to keep the software up to date on your devices because they help identify and fight against viruses, malware, and other scam attempts.
Charity scams are when fraudsters set up donation pages for charities that may sound real, but are not. Or, they set up web pages that look almost identical to a legitimate charity, and then ask people to donate money. Before giving to a charity, make sure you research the organization to make sure they are legitimate and that they are using the money in the way you would like them to.
Scammers pretend to be bank employees or employees from the FDIC and falsely claim that they are making changes to your bank account (such as limiting access to funds, fake security issues with deposits, and more).
If a person or organization promises to help you make a lot of money in the stock market, it is almost always a scam. Do not give them any personal information, or access to your accounts.
Since the pandemic began, there have been a flurry of various scams touting treatments, fake vaccines, fake test kits, medical supplies that don’t exist, and more. Be sure to check the source before placing an order for anything relating to the virus.
There are several steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links or download any attachments. Delete the email right away and report it. If it is a work email, you can report it to your IT department. If it is a personal email, you can report it to your email provider. When it comes to information about the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to get your information from legitimate sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and your state’s official government health website. If you receive a call, text, email, or a knock on your door from someone claiming to get you early access to the vaccine or a treatment for the virus, it is a scam.
Another step you can take is enabling multi-factor authentication for your accounts. This can typically be done for your email address, social media, and other accounts online. Multi-factor authentication means that in addition to entering your password, you will receive a text message or email with a code that you enter as well.
To keep up to date with the latest scams, visit StaySafeOnline.org to receive updates and information on how to keep personal information for you, your family, and your business safe. Please share information about scams with others, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly.
If you suspect that you or someone close to you has been the victim of a scam, please contact your financial institutions right away. You can also contact the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to freeze your credit. Finally, you should report it to your local law enforcement so they can investigate.