Five Ways To Help Protect Yourself From Online Fraud
Scammers use fraudulent emails or pop-up web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. They may also use vulnerabilities in DNS (Domain Name System) to provide false responses, may attempt to install software on your computer to alter your DNS settings, or may attempt to brute force administration credentials on your internet-facing host management interfaces.
Note: You should never provide your personal or account information in response to unsolicited emails or pop-up web pages.
How to Identify Online Fraud
Fraudulent emails, website, text messages and phone calls usually have a sense of urgency telling clients that if they fail to update, verify or confirm their personal or account information, access to their accounts will be suspended.
These types of messages typically ask for personal or account information such as:
- Account number
- Credit and check card number
- Social security number
- Online banking sign on IDs and passwords
- Mother’s maiden name
- Date of Birth
- Other sensitive information
Tips to Protect Yourself from Online Fraud
There are many things you can do to help secure your identity and your accounts.
Look beyond the logo: To make fraudulent emails or web sites appear real, scammers often include actual logos and images of legitimate companies. They also convey a sense of urgency, stating that if you fail to provide, update or verify your personal or account information, access to your accounts will be suspended. It’s important that you look beyond the logo and not give out your information.
Use your spam filter. Many email services now have spam filters that minimize the amount of spam you receive. The filters can help you minimize the number of fraudulent emails in your inbox.
Type, do not click. Even if you do open a suspicious email, don’t click on any links. By clicking on the links you could unknowingly download a virus or spyware to your computer. Even if you think the email is legitimate, type web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links. If the email is from an institution you do business with, use a bookmark that you’ve already created or type in the address to visit the company’s web site.
Change your online passwords often. The rule of thumb is to change your password every 30 to 60 days. Be creative with your passwords – stay away from obvious passwords like your zip code, year of birth or sensitive information such as your mother’s maiden name or your social security number.
Update your anti-virus and anti-spam software. By keeping anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date on your computer, you make it more difficult for scammers to access your personal and account information. You can purchase anti-virus and anti-spyware software at major retail stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, as well as on the Internet.