Written by: Kayla Famolare, Business Operations Project Leader
This year, more people will turn to online shopping for their holiday needs than ever before. This also means more threats to your personal information through cyberattacks.
“Phishing” attacks use email or malicious websites (clicking on a link) to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses. Cybercriminals lure people through devious social engineering efforts, like sharing messages that your machine needs an important technical update, or false advertisements for sales and deals.
Here are a few tips to help protect your privacy and information from such attacks:
1. When in doubt, throw it out Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.
2. Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email Do not respond to any email solicitations asking for personal information. This includes following links sent in email. Before sending sensitive information over the Internet, check the security of the website.
3. Pay attention to the website’s URL Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net). If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly.
4. Keep a clean machine Update to the latest operating system, software, and anti-virus protection for the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
5. Think before you act Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
6. Secure your accounts with strong passwords Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password. Having separate passwords for every account also helps to thwart cybercriminals. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
If you think you could be a victim of a cybercrime, contact your local law enforcement or find a local victim service provider here: ovc.ncjrs.gov/findvictimservices/search.asp. You should also contact your financial advisor to prevent any possible further activity. Please reach out if you have any questions and shop safely!
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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Investment advice offered through Shepherd Financial Partners, LLC. A registered investment advisor. Registration as an investment advisor does not imply any level of skill or training.
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The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.
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