Here are some online tips:
- Keep them strong. Incorporate upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even special characters such as ! or %.
- No pets, people, places, birthdays or anniversaries.
- Change them regularly.
- Never share them with someone else.
Avoid IRS Impersonators
- The IRS will not call you with threats of jail or lawsuits.
- The IRS will not send you an unsolicited email suggesting you have a refund or that you need to update your account.
- The IRS will not request any sensitive information online.
- These are all scams, and they are persistent. Don't fall for them.
Old Computers & Devices
- It is important to erase your personal information from old computers before you dispose of them.
- Simply reformatting a hard drive or reinstalling the operating system does not guarantee the old data is unreadable.
- Physically destroy the hard drive or use a special "wipe" program.
"I don't have anything a hacker would want!"
- Yes, you do. Hackers want to control your PC to send spam, distribute malware, or help launch a denial of service attack.
- Hackers want your information to use for identity theft and fraud.
- Most attacks are automated. Hackers simply seek out and compromise vulnerable systems.
- Social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter) are used widely, but, we must learn how to be safe on such sites.
- While these sites can increase your circle of friends, they also can increase your exposure to people with less-than-friendly intentions.
- Learn how to help your kids - and other family members - socialize online safely.
- When you post that you're on vacation or when you "check in" to your favorite meeting place, that tells others not only where you are, but also that you're not home.
- Your friends aren't the only ones who'd like to know where you are. Thieves and stalkers do too!
- Resist the urge to tell all!
Protect Your Children Online
- Keep your computer in a central and open location in your home and be aware of other computers your child may be using.
- Discuss and set guidelines and rules for computer use.
- Familiarize yourself with your child's online activities and maintain a dialogue with them about what applications they are using.
- Consider using software that allows you to monitor their email and web traffic.
Online Shopping Safety
- Know whom you're dealing with.
- Beware of pop-up windows and unsolicited emails.
- Pay by credit card.
- Keep a paper trail.
- Don't email your financial information.
- Holidays are the season for receiving unexpected packages in the mail. Scammers know this and can send realistic-looking delivery failure notifications via email for deliveries that never even took place.
- These notification emails often ask you to reveal personal identification information that is then used for malicious purposes.
- Head to your local post office or call the parcel delivery service to verify the delivery before you hand over information over the internet.
Be aware that public wireless networks, such as those at your favorite coffee shop, library or even work, are not secure networks.
Set the privacy and security settings on the service and/or device to your comfort level for information sharing.
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This site updated as of 10/21/2017.