We hear about internet scams and dangers daily. If you aren’t careful, the internet can be a dangerous place. In this blog we will educate you on the steps you should take to be safe online.
- Consumers reported losing almost $8.8 billion to scams and frauds in 2022. This number is up 30% from 2021.
- In the United States, 1 in 10 adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year.
- 1.3 million children have their identities stolen every year.
- Imposter scams were the most prevalent form of fraud in 2021.
- Younger Americans and individuals over the age of 70 tend to be fraud victims most frequently.
- Older Americans are the most likely to lose money from scams.
These statistics may seem scary, but there are ways to protect yourself and your loved ones online.
Use a Secure Browser
We suggest that you use Chrome for your internet needs. Chrome is the most secure browser. Google and all of its branches have great security features. Gmail is the safest email system to use if you want to be safe online.
Passwords need to be unique, long and changed often. One of the reasons we have been able to protect accounts so well is that we frequently change passwords and they are never easy to guess. Each of your accounts should have a unique password. If someone guesses one of your passwords, they should not be able to log into everything you have with that password. Each of your passwords needs uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and at least one number and symbol. A password that is more than 12 characters long is ideal.
Trouble Keeping up With Your Passwords?
If you have trouble keeping up with your passwords, there are ways to keep better track of them. The traditional method is to write them down in a notebook or on a sticky note. If you choose this method, store it away from your computer or backpack. If it is easy to find, you lose security protection. You can also store passwords in your notes, hidden in your computer, or on a variety of apps. If you use a digital password keeper, ensure that it is safe and secure.
Use a Two-Step Verification
Whenever it is an option, use a two-step verification process. Facebook, Instagram, G-Mail, and others. This is an easy way to ensure no one is logging into your accounts without permission.
Keep Personal Information Limited And Secure
Information as simple as your date of birth can give people a lot of information about you. With a name and date of birth, someone can run a background check on you. It is okay to make your birthday available, but the year should not be posted or displayed on your profile. Don’t share your home address, your cell phone number, your kids’ names, or where your kids go to school. Posting is forever. Even if you delete something, someone could have a screenshot or it could somehow get released.
Check Your Privacy Settings
You can keep your posts private from strangers by changing your privacy settings. Many people choose to only allow friends to see their posts, and this is a smart move. Your business pages should be available to everyone, but your personal page should stay personal.
Even if you use a secure browser, there are other things to keep in mind. The first thing to look at is your connection. It is better to use your data than to log into public free wifi. Anyone can access your data through public connections. Another way to protect yourself is by not allowing apps to track your movements on your phone. There is no reason Facebook should know what apps you are using and how you use them. You can also turn off microphone and camera access for every app that doesn’t consistently use it.
Don’t use Facebook or Google For Logins
If you use Facebook or Google to log in to other websites and apps, it tracks what you’re doing. Any time you use an application to sign into something and you don’t create a unique sign-in with your email, you are permitting them to access all of your information.
Do Not Take Quizzes Online
We have all seen the fun online quizzes that are labeled something along the lines of “What kind of dog are you? Take this quiz to find out!” The questions they ask are often to try and guess passwords and security questions. How many security questions are your dog’s name? The answer is probably many of them. Quizzes are an easy way for hackers to get your information while you are having fun. The quizzes do not come from Facebook; they come from third parties who are looking to sell your information.
Be Careful of What You Download And Click on
You should always be careful of what you download and click on, especially if you use a PC. Macs have better security features and are less likely to get a virus. Learn how to spot fake emails and websites now to save yourself in the future. Don’t click on unusual text messages or email links. These often try to make you panic about a Facebook or bank account issue. Their goal is to hack into your device when you click the link. If it looks unusual, don’t click on it. If you get a serious notification, verify that it is from the URL that the company uses. If you think your Facebook is hacked, make sure the message is coming from facebook.com.
Only Purchase From Secure Sites
If you plan on purchasing something online, verify that you are on the correct website. Facebook allows ads from fake websites, and they are easy to mix up on Google too. Look at the URL to see if the company name is spelled correctly and if it is a legit website. Fake companies will take your money, steal your information, and sometimes send you a product. If they do send you a product, it will not be the brand or quality you expected. Only make purchases from sites that start with HTTP and have a padlock next to the URL.
Watch For Fake Profiles
Look for fake profiles, and report them when you see them. When you get a friend request, see if you are already friends with that person. Sometimes scammers will pretend to be someone on your friend list. If you don’t know someone or the friend request is from a stranger in another country, report and block the account. Don’t connect with people you don’t know in real life. Famous people are most likely not going to send you a friend request. If they are a fake profile, they are most likely an unsafe account.
Pay Attention and Be Safe Online!
Online security becomes a bigger issue each year. Statistics show that elders and young people are frequently hacked and financially abused by online scams. Pay attention to your browser, URL, and the people you are connected with. Change your passwords and make them difficult to guess. The more cautious you are, the more protected you will be.