ONLINE SAFETY TIPS
Phishing: Don't take the Bait!
Identity Theft: Protect Yourself!
Internet Fraud: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Social Media: Be Careful Who You Trust
Play it Safe with Portable Devices
- Complexity- Make your passwords at least eight characters long and composed of upper case letters, lower case letters and numbers. Not all programs allow for symbols but if they do then add a symbol as well, the more complex the better.
- Do not share your passwords- Relationships can change over time and sharing your password can open a door to a total invasion of privacy, especially since a large number of people tend to use the same password on various programs like personal email, online banking, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal…etc.
- Avoid using the same password for all the places you visit online- If the password you used at just one online location gets exposed then it is common for hackers to try the same user ID password combo at other places and can lead to identity theft.
- If written, keep in a locked safe location- Years ago it was recommended not to keep the passwords written down anywhere but there are so many now that it’s impossible to remember them all. It’s ok to write them down, just make sure you keep them in a safe location away from the computer and not out in the open. A locked drawer or locked file cabinet would be the most ideal location.
- Do not use guessable passwords- It was always a bad idea to use personal info for creating passwords but with social media and ease of gaining personal information we really recommend that you don’t use personal information such as your name, birth date, child’s name or a pet’s name. We also do not recommend using sequential alphabet letters like ABCD or sequential numbers like 1234. Certainly ABCD1234 would be considered a guessable password.
- Avoid entering passwords on public computers or unsecure public Wi-Fi connections- Public computers can potentially have malware that can keep track of your keystrokes and steal your passwords. Hackers can also potentially intercept your passwords on unsecure public Wi-Fi access spots.
- Be aware of your surroundings- Who can see you typing your password, if you think someone may have been paying attention while you were typing in your password then change it or request for it to be changed.
- Log off or lock your computer when not in use- Even when just stepping away from the computer for a few minutes it is good practice to lock the computer screen. It only takes a moment for someone to jump on the computer and change the password.
- Antivirus and Windows patches- Always use some type of antivirus software and make sure to keep it up to date. Also make sure to run the operating system updates and patches for your computer. These practices will help to prevent malware that can steal your passwords from being installed on your computer.