This week may be National Fraud Awareness Week, but we think that protecting yourself online should be something you keep at the top of mind all year long. If you shop or browse online, you'll want to take heed to these tips that can keep you from being fooled by phishing scams and create airtight passwords. Read on!
- Don't be fooled by fake log-in screens: If you're already signed into Twitter, Facebook, or your email, you won't be asked to sign in again unless you've logged out. Even if the screen looks like the normal log-in, it probably isn't.
- Don't be fooled by emails: I've been asked to reply to my "banking institution" with my account log-in information before. The email is formatted to look legit, but if you check the sender's address, most likely it's from a third-party account like Gmail, Yahoo, or MSN. Be diligent. Never reply to emails with your bank log-ins or passwords, and always check where they are coming from first. When in doubt, call instead.
- Reset your passwords often: Too often, people have some pretty lame passwords, which allow their accounts to get hacked even without a phishing scam. Make sure your passwords are tough to guess, and try to change them every few months.
See the rest of the tips after the break.
- Get some password help: There are sites out there that can help you choose a hacker-proof password, but just don't go writing it down in an easy-to-find place soon after you settle on one!
- Never forget your password again: You can use a device like Roboform to store your passwords digitally, and then all you have to do is insert it into your computer's USB port for access. Just keep that sucker under lock and key!
- Scammers aren't afraid to call you: As if I need to tell you this, but giving away your passwords, log-in information, or social security number to a call that was unsolicited by you (i.e. they called you) is asking for trouble. If you are asked to give your info out to a person who contacted you, get their name and/or employee ID number and call them back through the main 1-800 line, just to be safe.