Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim!

Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Online Security Protection Internet Safety Guard Lock Concept

1.) Don’t share your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other pertinent information with anyone.

2.) Don’t write your passwords down anywhere someone could stumble upon them. It’s best if you don’t keep written records of your passwords, but with the amount of passwords people need now, it’s getting a bit more complicated to keep track of them all without writing them down.

3.) Keep your computer’s spyware and antivirus software up to date and scan your computer regularly.

4.) Make sure you have firewalls up and running at all times. Whether it’s the built-in Windows firewall, your router’s firewall or a 3rd party firewall software; or all of them in combination if you really want to make sure they are working.

5.) Always be wary of emails asking for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links or open emails that seem suspicious to you at all. Even one simple click can open your computer up to a criminal – installing malicious software and stealing your information. Never click on links in emails or links on web sites that you don’t know or don’t trust. If you get an email from “your bank” saying you need to log into your account right away for any reason, but you aren’t sure the email is actually coming from your bank then don’t click on any links in that email. Open a new internet browser, type in the URL yourself and then log in to your account and make sure everything is as it should be. If a link doesn’t feel right, don’t click it.

6.) Keep an eye on your assets and your credit and check on everything on a regular basis. Make sure to report any odd or suspicious activity immediately. Switch over to paperless billing and statements. Pretty much everyone now-a-days offers paperless statements… banks, credit cards, house-hold billing companies. Having them all delivered to your email inbox instead of your physical address saves paper, postage and also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your mail.

7.) Never write your full account numbers on your checks when you pay your bills, especially when paying credit card bills, just write in the last four digits of your account number.

8.) Always shred documents you do not need, don’t just throw them in the trash. Criminals do sift through your trash looking for pertinent documents.

9.) Don’t broadcast that you are leaving town, or that you are out of town, on social networking sites. That is sort of like putting up a flashing neon sign over your house that says “no one is home and no one will be home for a while, so come on in and take what you want.” Wait until you return home from your trip to talk about it.

 

If Your ID Is Stolen:
Immediately file a fraud alert on your credit report by calling Equifax (888-766-0008), TransUnion (800-680-7289) or Experian (888-397-3742). After you have filed your report, call the issuers of any credit cards that may have been affected.

 

Basically the gist of everything I’ve written is: be careful with the personal information that you give out.
We all do a lot of shopping online which means we are all typing our credit card numbers into lots of different company websites. Make sure the company you purchase from is reputable. If something seems too good to be true, it is. There is nothing free in life. Massive discounts on normally very expensive items from shady online stores are more often than not going to cost you a lot more than you think.

 

A Few Tips For Kids:

staying_safe_online_large

 

Do you need any assistance? Want a professional to check your computer security? Contact TeCHS today!

~Your TeCHS

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Car Tire RFID Tags

Another addition to your car you may or may not have heard about are specialized RFID tags that have been created to be embedded into the rubber sidewalls of your tires. RFID technology has been around for decades and tires have been around even longer than that, but the addition of RFID tags into tires is a pretty recent development.

RFID Tags photo Blog_RFID.gif

In 2004, after the big Firestone/Ford Explorer problem the United States Congress passed an act named TREAD (that stands for Transportation, Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) which mandated that all car makers closely track all tires they put on their vehicles so that they can easily be recalled if there is any problem.

In response to the act, car manufacturers have begun to include RFID tags in each tire they sell. The microchip stores each tire’s unique ID which can be associated with the vehicle’s identification number (VIN), information about when and where the tire was made, the tire’s maximum inflation pressure, size and more. These tags can easily be updated using a handheld RFID reader or from the vehicle’s internal display systems.

The good for consumers: Proper tire pressure increases fuel efficiency and lowers emissions, reduces the chances of a blow-out which can save lives, and it reduces tread wear which will make the tires last longer. In newer vehicles the RFID tags are being routed to the car’s internal display to tell the owner if the tires need to be serviced.

The good for manufacturers and dealerships: Tired equipped with RFID tags can be easily tracked and recalled, they can better control their quality processes, and service centers can track inventory more efficiently.

On another level, these tags can be used as security devices. For example, some government installations use specialized RFID readers to track vehicles that drive on and off of their property.

~ K. McMillan-Ralph, TeCHS

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‘Smishing’

‘Smishing’ Another Identity Theft Scam

Have you ever been “smished”?

Identity theft experts warn us all to be on the alert for text messages with links — they could be an identity theft scam known as smishing. Similar to phishing (which involves email), smishing uses cell phone text messages to deliver bait that’s intended to get you to divulge personal information.

Smishing may involve winning a prize or a message that contains something that requires your immediate attention — the link tells you to “click here.” If you click on the infected link, it downloads malware that allows the bad guys to gain control of your device remotely. They can then use your phone from anywhere in the world to access your banking information, credit card data and the like.

What to do if you receive a text message that asks for sensitive information:
-Do not reply to the message.
-Do not click on any of the links that may be embedded in the message.
-Contact your carrier’s privacy or fraud team. If their company name or brand is used in efforts to fraudulently obtain personal information, they may choose to pursue legal action.
-Contact your bank or financial institution to be sure your accounts have not been compromised.

Visit the FTC Identity Theft website to learn more about how to minimize damage from identity theft. If you believe that you have been a victim of a smishing scam, you can file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.

The bottom line:
-Just don’t click the link!

As technology provides new ways to expose and defend against familiar scams, clever con artists will devise new ones. Always be careful what you click on.

~Seth & Kim Ralph, TeCHS

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