October 29, 2013

Tips to Protect Yourself Online

During this time of year we do a lot of online shopping. Below are some tips to keep you safe.
Change your password every three months. Use upper and lower case letters, 
symbols, sentences and/or numbers. Example: ILoveToTravel%5236.  Never use the same password for all of your websites that require one.   
Are you giving them your password?: A lot of us use online banking, instead of typing in your user name and password on the bank's log-in page (or any website for that matter) first type them in a Word document then cut and paste them into your user/password field. There are viruses that can now recognize key strokes.  If you receive an email from your bank with a link. DO NOT click on the link, rather open up a new tab in your browser and type in your bank's URL.
Email Recovery: Many web-based email programs (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) offer a recovery option. This is a secondary email or your cell phone. If someone were to hack your account and change the password, an email will be sent to your secondary email account or cell phone altering you of the change. Or, if you simply forget your password you can use this option. You can find this in your account settings of your email program. 

Links within an Email: You'll receive an email from someone you know and it will have a link. Usually the email will look odd, either it will have only a link and nothing else, or some type of sales pitch. If in doubt, don't click on it. Call your friend to make sure. And also worth mentioning, especially if you receive an email from someone you do not know, never, never click on the link.
Online Purchases: Never use your debit card to make purchases online, always use your credit card.
Phishing Scams: Beware of phishing emails, which appear to come from your bank, school, or other legitimate business, but are fraudulent and might contain harmful links or attempt to get you to divulge personal information. Do not click links within the email. Go directly to the site and research the problem. If you determine it is fraud, notify the site.