As you likely know, there are more and more attacks on our security online every day, and it’s even more frequent around the holidays. This time of year, be on guard for cyber criminals. To help you stay safe, here are some tips:
- Do your research before donating to charities. Organizations like Charity Navigator, one of the nation's largest and most-used charity evaluators, provides detailed information to help you make good choices.
- Don’t give your account information to someone who calls you, even if it’s for a good cause. If you want to donate, check out the charity’s main number and call them back to donate.
- Be careful when considering whether to click on links you get in emails from unfamiliar websites. If the deal looks too good to be true, search the company’s name in your browser to get to the official website. And while you’re searching, make sure the company is reputable, too.
- Be careful of clicking on any email from an unfamiliar address.
- Sitting in a coffee shop using their public Wi-Fi? This connection is not secure, so wait to get to your secure online connection at home before doing any shopping or accessing personal financial accounts.
- Make sure your antivirus software is up to date on all your devices—computer, phone, and tablet.
- Don’t fall for “The IRS Scam.” The IRS will never call you to ask for payment. They send all notices by U.S. mail.
- Don't fall for the "Social Security Scam" either. The Social Security Administration will only reach out to you by phone if you are working with them on an active issue or claim (that you initiated).
- If calling the IRS or SS back, look up their phone number online, do not use the number left in a voicemail unless you have initiated contact with them.
- Consider identity theft protection.
- If you suspect your financial information has been compromised, be sure to call your bank and credit card companies immediately.
- Do not download documents from an email and enter your user name and password.
- Do not open attachments on emails or texts from unknown or unrequested persons. (even the USPS, UPS or FEDEX)
- Never feel pressured to "Take action" or make any rash decisions due to pressure placed on your by a caller/email contact or in a text. If they are wanting you to take action and threatening you, it is likely not reputable.
- Don't friend people on social media that you don't know or are already friends with.
If you’d like more information about cybersecurity, please feel free to reach out. Have a happy and safe holiday season!