5 Ways to Protect Yourself Online
As technology evolves, so do the ways that criminals can target you online to steal money or sensitive information. There are always new tactics that can be used to take advantage of people, but luckily, there are also lots of ways that you can protect yourself and your family from being a victim of an online scam.
Do not click links in text messages or emails.
Do not click a link or open attachments in an email, unless you know who the sender is. Clicking a link or opening an attachment may seem innocent, but scammers can embed viruses into those to infect your computer or steal your personal information. Scammers can spoof email addresses to appear to be from anyone, even Amazon or Apple. If you are unsure if the email is legitimate and they are asking you to take an action, like updating your credit card number, go to their website directly, instead of clicking the link.
Set up multi-factor authentication, when available.
Multi-factor authentication is a way for a website or app to verify who is trying to log in. The most common form of multi-factor authentication is having a code emailed or text messaged to you that you must provide before signing in. Some websites will require multi-factor authentication, however we suggest always turning this on, if available, especially on websites or apps that store sensitive information, like banking websites and social media accounts.
Install an anti-virus software.
Anti-virus software, like Norton or McAfee AntiVirus, can scan your computer regularly for viruses or malware. They can also protect your data, warn you about risky websites, block suspicious traffic and provide parental controls. Most anti-virus software has free and paid versions.
Check to see if a website is secure.
Before making an online purchase or providing any personal information online, make sure the website is secure. There are two ways to do this. First, look for the “https” in the URL. The second way to make sure a website is secure is to look for a lock symbol in the address bar of your web browser. This lock symbol indicates that this is a secure website.
Take a moment and think before acting.
lot of online scams use fear tactics to force you to act quickly and without thinking (e.g., you are in trouble with the IRS or a family member is in danger). Before taking any action online, stop, take a moment to consider what is happening and do some research. If you still feel you need more help, ask a family member or friend before moving any further.