Keeping Your Information Safe in the Digital Age
Electronic devices like cell phones and computers keep us conveniently connected to the world around us. But as technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it’s important to ensure you and your personal information remain safe from potential online scammers.
Here are our six favorite tips for keeping your information safe and secure in digital spaces.
Trust But Verify
Your risk of being scammed is never zero. Hackers will try just about anything to gain access to our devices and personal information. As you navigate the World Wide Web, be sure to keep a sense of skepticism about everything you’re doing online. Did a clicked link take you somewhere unexpected? Did start a download you didn’t authorize? If something seems strange, stop and take a minute to evaluate the situation. Also, never give out passwords or let someone into your computer whose identity you can’t verify.
Keep Your Device Up To Date
The easiest way malicious people or software to gain access to your information is if the device is unprotected or behind on security updates. Always make sure your computer and other electronic devices are up-to-date with any operating system and security updates. We’ve found it helpful to reminders in a calendar or other scheduling tool.
A strong password provides good protection and is your first line of defense against fraudsters. Passwords that contain easily identifiable information, like your name, username, even birthdays or anniversaries are often too weak to secure your device or information. It’s also recommended that you change your password every 45-60 days, as passwords can be compromised through leaks and sold on the internet. Stay vigilant and schedule password changes along with the system updates we mentioned above.
Be Cautious of Social Media Phishing
We all love a good personality test online. But answering questions on seemingly harmless social media quizzes could reveal answers to your personal security questions. The name of your high school, favorite pet, and childhood street name may seem innocent enough, but any information shared online creates a potential risk.
Beware Of Bad Actors
“Social engineering” is a form of fraud where malicious actors pretend to be someone you trust or know. We went into more depth on these scams in some previous posts. Basically, these bad actors will do whatever they can to con you into giving them access to your computer or device. They purposely lead you to make an emotional decision and rushing you into giving out information without thinking. Common scams include acting as the IRS or a bank representative, claiming that you have missed payments or were paid too much. Remember: Legitimate companies will not call you and ask you to provide account information. When in doubt – hang up and call the company directly using a number you trust from their website.
Back Up Your Data
Malware is a destructive tactic that fraudsters use in order to gain access to your personal information stored on your devices. Some malware is so invasive that it can only be removed by wiping the computer back to factory settings. If malware is detected on a computer, it could compromise all of your data. Frequent backups onto an external drive or device helps ensure that if your computer is compromised, your data is still safe.
While we’re always working behind the sense in safeguarding your information, be sure to download our “Safe and Secure” checklist to help keep you and your electronics protected.
Visit our online Security Center for the latest resources in keeping your money and information safe.
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