As cybercriminals become increasingly savvy, individuals need to be equally vigilant to prevent becoming a victim of cyber crime. The piece below from Freedman Financial in Boston contains tips on protecting your computer and financial information from these criminals. We hope this information will prove helpful and that you remain vigilant regarding cyber crime!
Cybercriminals have become quite shrewd in luring you to open suspicious emails and then more important to these criminals, get you to click on the links and attachments within these bogus emails.
Emails from cybercriminals can look just like the ones you get from your bank, a credible merchant, or the government. They trick you into thinking your account has been compromised in some manner, or your order hasn’t been processed correctly, and as a result they request that you ‘ACT QUICKLY’ to resolve.
Much of this junk mail or spam is filtered through your email provider, so don’t forget to check your spam box every week or so. On occasion, the email provider’s filtering does its job a little too well sending some perfectly fine emails into the spam folder, like ones from your friendly financial advisor, for example.
These cyber-creeps aren’t just invading your email inbox; your social networks are also at risk, often luring you in with an automatic update or price drop pop-up. Sometimes, the criminals pose as “friends” in our social or gaming networks and then wreak havoc on our system!
Cybercriminals are “phishing” for your personal and financial information, or hoping to infect your computer with a virus. By accessing your personal and banking information, they now have the ability to be you. This means they can buy things ‘as you’, open accounts ‘as you’, and take your hard earned money right out of the bank!
Viruses and malware can run in the background of your computer slowly stealing your information. Now there’s a new threat we need to be aware of: it’s your computer being held for ransom. These virtual criminals find their way into your computer and then lock it up, holding its entire contents hostage and only releasing it back to you if you pay them a ransom.
Safeguard against being a victim of a cyber crime. Follow these guidelines:
- When in doubt, throw it out! It’s the links in emails, posts, tweets, and online ads that allow an online criminal to gain access to your computer and personal information. If it looks suspicious, it is always best to delete it. DO NOT OPEN!
- It may seem obvious, but you don’t want to reveal your personal or financial information in an unsecure email. Before sending any sensitive information over the internet, you should check the website’s security, if one of those red warning boxes pops up, take notice and maybe don’t use that website.
- Pay attention to the website’s URL or address. Often, these scams have a slight spelling error in to the address or they end with a different domain; for example, it may say .net instead of .com or .gov.
- If you’re concerned that an account has been compromised as stated in the email you receive, call the company or financial institution directly. DO NOT RESPOND TO THE EMAIL. Use the information provided to you on your personal statement or the back of the credit card. Don’t use the information provided in the email; it will only get you in touch with the unscrupulous!
- Make sure your computer, tablet, and phone are up to date. They should have the latest operating systems, software, web browsers, and anti-virus software or apps. Having up to date anti-virus software is your best line of defense against virus, malware, and most online threats.
- Think before you act. Be leery of anything telling you to act immediately, seems too fabulous to be true, or is seeking personal information.
- Make your passwords long and strong. Combine capital letters with numbers and symbols to create the most secure password you can. It may seem like a pain and impractical, but having unique account names and passwords for all your accounts can protect you as well.
- Have more than one email address: one for important information like bank accounts, health information, etc. and another for actual emailing and online purchasing, offers, surveys, etc.
For more information:
CCMI provides personalized fee-only financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals and families in San Diego and throughout the country. CCMI has a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals who act as fiduciaries, which means our clients’ interests always come first.
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