Use of the Internet and Cell Phones May Be Hazardous to Your Financial
I hate to say it, because I did not think it was possible, but the number of fraudulent phishing attacks and data breeches on the Internet is spiraling out of control. (Why haven't we made the following addresses into automatic links? Check point #3 below!)
Just during this past summer alone, Apple employee gave access to a customer’s private iCloud information.
A thief may also strike by stealing cell phones, because people often do not put PINs on their phones. When someone does not have a PIN, anyone that picks up the phone has access to large amounts of personal information, such as recent calls placed, address book, email, photos, and personal information that has been entered such as credit card and banking information and access to web sites where your password is embedded (Amazon One Click comes to mind). Without a PIN, whoever holds the phone can place calls to anyone, and the person on the other end will see YOUR phone number.
The good news is that, with some precautions, you can help protect your identity and your finances.
- Always have a PIN set on your cell phones and smart devices (and computers).
- Never give private information over the Internet or over the phone unless you know whom you are dealing with and entered the website address yourself from either a bookmark or manually typing it into address field in your web browser.
- Always copy a web link you want to go to from an email message or article and paste it into your web browser. It is easy to make a web link in an email that says www.cnn.com but actually goes to a malicious site. Don’t believe me? Click on this link http://www.nbc.com
- Use different passwords for different websites. Your UW-Eau Claire password should not be the same one you use with your bank, and neither of these passwords should be the ones you use at Amazon, etc. My personal approach is to form a sentence that I use for a password, and I change certain parts of it for each website I go to. My current password is 14 characters long, but very easy for me to remember. The longer the password is, the harder it is for crooks to break your password.
- Many sites ask for secret questions to enable you to reset your password. A co-worker here came up with the great idea to use fake information (although it must be information you can remember). It is pretty easy for a crook to find on the net where a person was born, attended school, and names of relatives.
- Change your passwords often--you should never have a password that is over a year old. I would change sensitive accounts (banking, for example) at least twice a year.
- Watch the news. Just this summer, LinkedIn had all of their accounts and passwords stolen, and Yahoo had hundreds of thousands of accounts stolen. If you hear about a service you use having a data breech, change your password on that site.
- This applies to phone calls you receive as well as what you do on the Internet. If someone is asking for information and it does not feel right to you, TRUST YOUR FEELINGS and do not supply the information.