Phishing is a social engineering technique often used by criminals to trick individuals into providing personal information such as: ATM card numbers, account numbers, Social Security numbers, access Ids and passcodes.
Phishing maybe performed over the telephone through SMS texting or through email and redirection to a fraudulent website that appears to look just like the legitimate site.
Some of these fraudulent websites and even compromised legitimate sites may be virus laden and can be used to download malicious software (also known as mal-ware or crimeware) to your computer. Below we have a few tips to help protect your personal information on the Internet:
- Always be wary of any email requesting your personal information: such as your account number, ATM card number, PIN number, or social security number.
- Do not click on links or download attachments in email unless you are expecting the email.
- Bookmark financial websites and use these bookmarks every time you visit the website.
- Whenever you enter personal information on a website always look for the lock symbol, or https: in the address bar. Always click on the lock symbol and review the certificate details.
- Keep your Internet browser and computer operating systems updated! Most browsers also now offer free anti-phishing tool bars that can help alert you of fraudulent websites.
- Always use anti-virus and anti-spam software and keep it updated.
- Change passwords to your online accounts regularly.
Identity thieves rob more than 500,000 Americans every year. Credit can be damaged, and fixing it can cost you hundreds and take hundreds of hours of your time. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your risk of identity theft.
- Guard your Social Security number. It is the key to your credit report and banking accounts and it the prime target of criminals.
- Monitor your credit report.
- Shred all old bank and credit statements and “junk mail” credit card offers before throwing them in the garbage.
- Do not carry extra credit cards or other important identity documents except when needed.
- Copy both sides of your license and credit cards to you have all the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Do not print your social security number on your checks.
- Never give your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call and trust that business.