In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we at Talking Cents would like to remind our readers about the importance of protecting yourself from cyber crime and identity theft. With so much private information existing in a digital format, tech savvy thieves can wreak havoc on your finances. Here are some tips and resources to stay safe online.
Online Security Tips for Cyber Security Awareness Month
- Lock your mobile phone with a password or pin, and avoid using open WiFi networks for private activity like banking. Hackers can tap into the network or create their own to collect your personal information.
- Create strong passwords with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Use passwords that no one would be able to guess, and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Do not click on links in unfamiliar emails, and don’t give any personal information to people you don’t know online. A thief may send an email that looks legitimate (maybe using your bank or credit card issuer’s logo), and ask for private information. This is not a typical practice, and you should ignore it and report it as “spam” or “phishing”. If it seems suspicious, then call the company directly to confirm.
- Only make purchases from familiar online sellers with secure websites. This is noted when a site has “https” listed in front of the URL. the “S” stands for secure.
- If you are unsure about a particular email or website, do a simple search to see if anyone else has experienced something similar, and if it is a potential security risk.
There are many ways that a thief can attempt to access your personal information. Download ACCC’s Identity Theft Protection Guide to familiarize yourself with some common methods, and how to prevent them from happening to you. No matter what method a thief used to access your personal information, there are steps you can take to prevent or minimize the damage. Download ACCC’s guide, What To Do If Identity Has Been Stolen.