And a good time to review a few ways to remain safe online…both personally and in your online business presence. (I posted this last year, and the information is still good! So I am re-posting again this year!)
Here are a few websites full of good information and some tools that will aid in keeping you and your website safe:
- National Cyber Security Alliance – http://staysafeonline.org
- Anti-Phishing Working Group – http://apwg.org
- Tips from the United States Computer Emergency readiness Team – http://us-cert.gov/cas/tips
Email scams and “phishing” are ways that unscrupulous people can get your personal information without you suspecting that is what is happening. Being aware of their methods is the first step in protecting yourself so that you are not taken in by their schemes.
Be suspicious of any e-mail, text message, or phone call with urgent requests for personal financial information. Don’t use links in an e-mail, instant message, or chat to get to any Web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don’t know the sender. Call the company, or log on to the website directly by typing the address in your browser.
Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information only via a secure website or a known telephone number. Enter the address of any banking, shopping, auction, or financial transaction website yourself, and do not depend on links. Phishers can forge the yellow lock icon you see near the bottom of your screen on a secure site. When doubleclicked, the lock should display the security certificate for the site. If you get a warning that the address of the site does not match the certificate, do not continue.
Look at the address/status line. Scam sites may show “https://” and/or the security lock icon. A variation of the URL, i.e., bankname-verify.com, usually denotes a scam site.
Regularly log into your online accounts. This will not only keep you familiar with what they look like and the security procedures they have in place, it will also make it much easier to spot a fraudulent or spoofed site. Check bank, credit card and debit card statements for suspicious transactions. Ensure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches are applied.
Forward phishing or “spoof” e-mails to:
- The Federal Trade Commission, at email@example.com
- The “abuse” e-mail address at the company that is being spoofed