It seems these days that risks are everywhere, and they are.  Last month I had a cyber expert outright tell me to expect that all of our personal data is out there for the selling on the dark web.  That’s comforting.  So much of the time, we feel like our safety here is completely out of our control.  While sometimes, that is the case…. there are some things that we can do to help keep our online records (and our money!) safer.  And since my goal here is to help educate, and NOT overwhelm, here are my top 6: 

 

  • Keep your passwords unique and SAFE.  (More on that in the next blog/share of Consumer Reports article about password managers)
  • Where you can, incorporate something called “Dual Factor Authentication”, this requires an extra step to log into accounts, it notably slows you down but it can be a crucial deterrent for potential thieves.  This is becoming more and more common for financial account log-ins. 
  • Check bank and credit card accounts regularly, looking for suspicious charges
  • Request your credit report from the varying agencies annually (www.annualcreditreport.com will provide you with one free report per agency each year)
  • Be on guard for Phishing and Vishing (voice phishing).  One way you can do this is by hoovering over an email address before you respond to what could be a suspicious and cryptic email.  As you hover over their address with your mouse, if the addresses do not match, hold off on responding.
  • And last but not least, think two and three times before giving money to anyone you have not met in person (i.e. online dating!)

 

For more on this topic, here are a few additional resources:

 

What are the Common Frauds and scams now?  https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds

 

What should I be aware of when it comes to being safe online?

https://www.usa.gov/online-safety  and https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/

 

File a complaint if you are a victim of an online crime

with the Internet Crime Complaint Center https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

or the State Attorney Generals office  https://coag.gov/