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Let’s Talk Fraud Prevention
12/7/15
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a government agency dedicated to protecting people from fraud and scams. You can visit their website here. The site contains good information including: recent scam alerts, money and credit information, privacy and identity and mortgage and home.
Some Warning signs of a Scam:
·         Someone pretending to be from the IRS/other government agency/Sheriff’s Office calls and threatens you and demands money. USA Government and Law Enforcement Office do not call to threaten you or ask for money.
·         Did you get a check from someone who asked you to give them part of the money back? Never give someone money in return for a check. Fake checks can look real and fool the bank. You will be the one that has to pay the money back if the check is returned to your bank.
·         Did you get an email, text, or call asking for your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number? Never give that information to anyone who asks over email, text or phone.
·         A message pops up on your computer while you are on the internet ‘offering to fix a supposed issue on your PC.’ This is most likely a technology support scam unless it’s a message from your antivirus software.
Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Information
·         Don’t click on links in emails unless you’re sure you know what it is. Hover over the link and make sure the URL matches its description. Malicious links can download bad programs to your electronic device.
·         If you’re shopping or applying for a job online, make sure the website starts with “https.” The ‘s’ means the site is secure.
·         If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, visit the government's identity theft help website here for help.

Let’s Talk Security
11/21/15

Since so much of our personal information is on the web these days, online accounts are a frequent target for hacking, phishing, and malware. However, there are some basic technology security steps we can all take to protect ourselves. When it comes to your online security, it never hurts to take an extra step and make sure you’re safe.
Passwords –
Do not use the same password for all of your log-in accounts: business, social networking, shopping online, and financial transactions/mobile banking. Hackers continue to break into social media and email websites and steal passwords to use on other sites. Don’t let one of these stolen passwords be the only one you use for all your computer access. One suggestion is to add an acronym to your password for various sites so your Facebook and Gmail passwords could be similar but have a different acronym.
 
Keep your passwords secret–if you need to write them down or store them electronically, only keep as much as you need to remember the password (for example, leaving the middle part out and replacing it with X’s) and be cryptic when referring to what system the password logs you into.
 
Create strong passwords by using at least 8 characters with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can use a phrase (Iliket@bank!2) to create a strong password that you can remember. It may be tempting to opt for a simpler password for the sake of easy remembering, but having to use memory tricks to keep a password in mind is well worth the security that it provides.
 
Consider using two-step authentication and multifactor authentications when they are available so a hacker will need more than your user and password to access your information. Gmail, for instance, offers two-step verification now. In addition, make sure to password- or pin-protect your smart devices. The security it gives you in case your device is lost or stolen makes up for the extra seconds it takes to log in.
 
Malware –
Keep your devices free of malware.
·         Sign up for automatic security patches and verify at least monthly that all your electronic personal devices have the latest security patches applied including: PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
·         Install antivirus and keep it up to date.
·         Back up your devices so you can restore them to an earlier, malware-free state if needed.
·         Be wary of email phishing attempts. Do not click on links or attachments from unknown senders; verify with the sender if you do recognize them that they sent the email before clicking on links or opening attachments.
·         Be cautious when using free or open Wi-Fi.

 bekki author