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ARCHIVED INTERNET ARTICLES

Using the Internet is a common thing in life today. We do our online banking, begin searching the web, playing games and more. Many times we find ourselves on the road with our laptops or use one at a facility without considering the onsequences. These articles will give you tips and tricks on how to stay safe and keep your computer virus-free.



brown bulletpointArchived Internet Safety Articles

 

 

4 WIFI SAFETY TIPS

If you have a laptop computer with wireless connectivity, you can access the Internet using Wi-Fi, or wireless networks, often in public places such as coffee shops, airports, hotels, and other spaces.

Here are four quick tips to enjoy the convenience of public Wi-Fi and help to protect your privacy.

  • Use a firewall

If your computer uses Windows Vista or Windows XP and you've installed Service Pack 2, you have a built-in firewall that's turned on by default.
You can configure Windows Firewall to provide better protection when you're using a public wireless network.

For more information, see Windows Firewall.

  • Hide your files

When you use public Wi-Fi, network encryption is often out of your control.
Check the privacy statement on the network's website to learn about the type of encryption they use. (If they don't have a privacy statement, you'd be better off not using the network.)

If you keep personal or financial information on your computer, consider investing in an operating system, such as Windows Vista, that includes the tools to protect your information through encryption.

To learn more, see Encrypt or decrypt a folder or file.

  • Don't type in credit card numbers or passwords

These measures provide some protection against casual hackers and identity thieves who prey on wireless networks. But if criminals are determined enough, they will eventually find a way to get around any security system.

If you want to be safe, avoid typing any sensitive information, such as your credit card number or any other financial information, while you use a public wireless network.

Tip If you must enter credit card numbers while using a public wireless network, make sure there is a locked padlock icon at the bottom right corner of the browser window, and make sure the web address begins with https: (the "s" stands for secure).

  • Turn off your wireless network when you're not using it

If you're not surfing the Internet or sending email, but still using your computer in an area where there is a public wireless network, disable your wireless connection.

If you're using an external Wi-Fi card you can remove it.
If you're using an internal WiFi card, right-click the connection and click Disable.


Article by Microsoft
http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/public-wireless.aspx

 

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8 INTERNET SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS

  1. Learn what you need to know about Internet safety before you sit down with your child.  Educating your child on how to keep safe will give them the tools they need to navigate their online world without being hurt; from not posting personal information to understanding that people they “chat” with may not actually be who they are. If the parents know the dangers themselves, this sets an example to the child to understand them as well.
  2. Teach children the obvious identity rules.  Tell your children NOT to put photos of themselves on the Internet or to give out their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, or other personal information online.
  3. Install an Internet filter or family safety software.  Many are extremely advanced and an effective way to filter dangerous content. Additionally, this software usually comes with tools like time management, remote monitoring and reporting, and keystroke recognition, giving families greater peace of mind and manageability.
  4. Know the dangers associated with sites your children frequent.  Whether it's MySpace, Facebook or another social networking site, by knowing what people are doing on your children's favorite sites that could put them in harm's way, parents can educate their children and show them the warning signs of potentially dangerous situations.
  5. Teach children what to do if they encounter pornography on a home or public computer, such as at a school or a library.

        In a similar fashion to the fire warning of "stop, drop and roll," you can teach children to quickly turn off power to the computer monitor and go to get an adult. This can prevent a child from attempting to stop the situation by clicking more buttons (and thereby spreading the attack and being exposed to more porn).

  1. Manage your children's time on the Internet.  Scheduling times when a child can be on the Internet and the amount they can be online ensures that you know when they are on the Internet and how long. By not allowing them to have free reign reduces their chances of being exposed to inappropriate content.
  2. Keep computers out of children's bedrooms and in open areas.  With PCs in the open, children will be less inclined to view and access material that may not be acceptable.
  3. Understand Internet Privacy Policies as they apply to your child.

According to the FTC - http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/childrens.html, parents should be aware of the following as it pertains to protecting their childrens' privacy on the web:

Look for a privacy policy on any website directed to children.

The policy must be available through a link on the website's homepage and at each area where personal information is collected from kids. Websites for general audiences that have a children's section must post the notice on the homepages of the section for kids.

Read the policy closely to learn the kinds of personal information being collected, how it will be used, and whether it will be passed on to third parties. If you find a website that doesn't post basic protections for children's personal information, ask for details about their information collection practices.

This article taken in part from: http://www.netnanny.com/learn_center/safety_tips

 

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COMMON INTERNET FRAUD SCHEMES

The following are some of the most common scams that the FBI investigates and tips to help prevent you from being victimized.

6 Warning Signs of Telemarketing Fraud
When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud—what a caller may tell you:

    • "You must act 'now' or the offer won't be good."
    • "You've won a 'free' gift, vacation, or prize." But you have to pay for "postage and handling" or other charges.
    • "You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier." You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
    • "You don't need to check out the company with anyone." The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
    • "You don't need any written information about their company or their references."
    • "You can't afford to miss this 'high-profit, no-risk' offer."

If you hear these or similar "lines" from a telephone salesperson, just say "no thank you" and hang up the telephone. 
Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Fraud:
It's very difficult to get your money back if you've been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

  1. Don't buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.
  2. Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them.
  3. Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.
  4. Obtain a salesperson's name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items.
  5. Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.
  6. Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"
  7. Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.
  8. Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.
  9. Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won't pressure you to make a snap decision.
  10. Don't pay for a "free prize." If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.
  11. Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It's never rude to wait and think about an offer.
  12. Never respond to an offer you don't understand thoroughly.
  13. Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
  14. If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.
  15. If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

 

 

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CROSS BORDER FRAUD

Cross-Border Fraud
Cross-border fraud is a serious problem - and it appears to be growing. Today, the Internet and cell phones make it easy for victims to be targeted from anywhere in the world.

What To Do


Know who you’re dealing with.
Try to find a seller’s physical address (not just a P.O. Box) and phone number. With internet phone services and other web-based technologies, it’s tough to tell where someone is calling from. Do an internet search for the company name and website, and look for negative reviews. If you find them, you’ll have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. After all, it’s only a good deal if you actually get a product that works.

Understand that wiring money is like sending cash.
Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or family friend in an emergency who wants to keep the request a secret.

Read your monthly statements.
Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

Give only to established charities after a disaster.
In the aftermath of a disaster, give to established charities, rather than one that has sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity. For more donating tips, check out ftc.gov/charityfraud.

Talk to your doctor before you buy health products or treatments.
Ask about research that supports a product’s claims — and possible risks or side effects. Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies. Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake, expired, or mislabeled — in short, products that could be dangerous to your health.

When investing, remember there’s no sure thing.
If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no financial risk, or that demand that you send cash immediately, report them at ftc.gov.


What Not To Do

Don’t send money to someone you don’t know.
Not an online seller you’ve never heard of — nor an online love interest who asks for money. It’s best to do business with sites you know and trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider using an option that provides protection, like a credit card.

If you think you’ve found a good deal, but you aren’t familiar with the company, do some research. Type the company or product name into your favorite search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” See what comes up – on the first page of results as well as on the later pages.

Never pay fees now for the promise of a big pay-off later — whether it’s for a loan, a job, or a so-called prize.

Don’t agree to deposit a check and wire money back.
No matter how convincing the story. By law, banks have to make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You’re responsible for the checks you deposit: If a check turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for paying back the bank.
Don’t reply to messages asking for personal or financial information.

That goes whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text message, or an ad. Don’t click on links or call phone numbers included in the message, either. It’s called phishing. The crooks behind these messages are trying to trick you into revealing sensitive information. If you got a message like this and you are concerned about your account status, call the number on your credit or debit card — or your statement — and check on it.

Don’t play a foreign lottery.
It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery. And yet messages that tout your chances of winning a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won can be so tempting. Inevitably, you’re asked to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you send money to collect, you haven’t won anything. Indeed, you’ve lost whatever money you sent. You won’t get any money back, either, regardless of the promises.

Report Online Scams
If you think you may have been scammed:

  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are outside the U.S., file a complaint at econsumer.gov. Complaints are entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network, an online database used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Visit ftc.gov/idtheft, where you’ll find out how to minimize your risk of identity theft.
  • Report scams to your State Attorney General.

If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to spam@uce.gov.
If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country through the postal mail, give it to your local postmaster.

 

 

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EMAIL AND WEB SCAMS

When you read email or surf the Internet, you should be wary of scams that try to steal your personal information (identity theft), your money or both. Many of these scams are known as "phishing scams" because they "fish" for your information.

How to recognize scams
New scams seem to appear every day. You can learn to recognize a scam by familiarizing yourself with some of the telltale signs.

Scams can contain the following:

  • Alarmist messages and threats of account closures.
  • Promises of money for little or no effort.
  • Deals that sound too good to be true.
  • Requests to donate to a charitable organization after a disaster that has been in the news.
  • Bad grammar and misspellings.

Popular scams

Here are some popular scams that you should be aware of:

Scams that use the Microsoft name or names of other well-known companies. These scams include fake email messages or websites that use the Microsoft name. The email message might claim that you have won a Microsoft contest, that Microsoft needs your logon information or password, or that a Microsoft representative is contacting you to help you with your computer. (These fake tech-support scams are often delivered by phone.)

Lottery scams. You might receive messages that claim that you have won the Microsoft lottery or sweepstakes. These messages might even look like they come from a Microsoft executive. There is no Microsoft Lottery. Delete the message.

Rogue security software scams. Rogue security software, also known as "scareware," is software that appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but provides limited or no security, generates erroneous or misleading alerts, or attempts to lure you into participating in fraudulent transactions. These scams can appear in email, online advertisements, your social networking site, search engine results, or even in pop-up windows on your computer that might appear to be part of your operating system, but are not.

How to report a scam

You can use Microsoft tools to report a suspected scam.

  • Internet Explorer. While you are on a suspicious site, click the gear icon and then point to Safety. Then click Report Unsafe Website and use the web page that is displayed to report the website.
  • Hotmail. If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click the check box next to the message in your Hotmail inbox. Click Mark as and then point to Phishing scam.
  • Microsoft Office Outlook. Attach the suspicious email message to a new email message and forward it to reportphishing@antiphishing.org.

 What to do if you think you have been a victim of a scam

If you suspect that you've responded to a phishing scam with personal or financial information, take these steps to minimize any damage.

  • Change the passwords or PINs on all your online accounts that you think might be compromised.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Check with your bank or financial adviser if you're not sure how to do this.
  • Contact the bank or the online merchant directly. Do not follow the link in the fraudulent email message.
  • If you know of any accounts that were accessed or opened fraudulently, close those accounts.
  • Routinely review your bank and credit card statements monthly for unexplained charges or inquiries that you didn't initiate.

Tools to help you avoid scams

Microsoft offers several tools to help you avoid phishing scams when you browse the Web or read your email.

  • Windows Internet Explorer. In Internet Explorer 8, the domain name in the address bar is emphasized with black type and the remainder of the address appears gray to make it easy to identify a website's true identity. The SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer also gives you warnings about potentially unsafe websites as you browse.
  • Windows Live Hotmail. Microsoft's free webmail program also uses SmartScreen technology to screen email. SmartScreen helps identify and separate phishing threats and other junk email from legitimate email.
  • Microsoft Office Outlook. The Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 and other Microsoft email programs evaluates each incoming message to see if it includes suspicious characteristics common to phishing scams.

Article from AARP

http://www.aarp.org/technology/how-to-guides/info-03-2011/reduce-fraud-phishing.html

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FAKE AND DANGEROUS WEBSITES

When doing a search on the Internet for a product or information, be sure you are going to a legitimate website.  Many hackers and devious people will create a website that looks just like the original site, but theirs will gather your personal information and/or plant a virus on your computer.  To determine whether a website is legitimate or not:

  • Look at the site's domain registration information at www.whois.net.
    If the site is official, the company's information should be listed as the domain owner.
  • Make sure the URL domain is correct when you visit the site.
    Don’t click on any images or links on the site until you know it is the real thing (this is where many virus’ are hiding).
  • Always look for the padlock icon.
    When a site is secure, you'll see a padlock in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. Look for the lock before you enter any private information, including your password.

A good way to see before you click on a website is to install a free software product that will tell you if the site is safe or not.  It is called Web Of Trust (WOT).  You can go to http://www.mywot.com/ to learn more.  Sometimes a new website has not been rated, if you know the site and trust it’s source, you can join WOT and rank the site.  It’s worth your time to be safe.

 

Article by: West Bend Web Designer - HLN Web Designs

 

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FOUR SAFETY WI-FI TIPS

If you have a laptop computer with wireless connectivity, you can access the Internet using Wi-Fi, or wireless networks, often in public places such as coffee shops, airports, hotels, and other spaces.
Here are four quick tips to enjoy the convenience of public Wi-Fi and help to protect your privacy.

  • Use a firewall

If your computer uses Windows Vista or Windows XP and you've installed Service Pack 2, you have a built-in firewall that's turned on by default.
You can configure Windows Firewall to provide better protection when you're using a public wireless network.
For more information, see Windows Firewall.

  • Hide your files

When you use public Wi-Fi, network encryption is often out of your control.
Check the privacy statement on the network's website to learn about the type of encryption they use. (If they don't have a privacy statement, you'd be better off not using the network.)
If you keep personal or financial information on your computer, consider investing in an operating system, such as Windows Vista, that includes the tools to protect your information through encryption.
To learn more, see Encrypt or decrypt a folder or file.

  • Don't type in credit card numbers or passwords

These measures provide some protection against casual hackers and identity thieves who prey on wireless networks. But if criminals are determined enough, they will eventually find a way to get around any security system.
If you want to be safe, avoid typing any sensitive information, such as your credit card number or any other financial information, while you use a public wireless network.
Tip If you must enter credit card numbers while using a public wireless network, make sure there is a locked padlock icon at the bottom right corner of the browser window, and make sure the web address begins with https: (the "s" stands for secure).

  • Turn off your wireless network when you're not using it

If you're not surfing the Internet or sending email, but still using your computer in an area where there is a public wireless network, disable your wireless connection.
If you're using an external Wi-Fi card you can remove it.
If you're using an internal WiFi card, right-click the connection and click Disable.

Article by Microsoft

http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/public-wireless.aspx

 

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HOW TO SHOP SAFELY ONLINE

Shopping online offers lots of benefits you won't find shopping in traditional stores. The worldwide stores of the Internet never close. You can order tulip bulbs directly from Holland, exotic spices from Turkey or handwoven wall hangings from Mexico or Morocco -- anytime 365-days a year. Taking advantage of their low overhead, Internet vendors often offer highly discounted prices. Savings can be substantial. In addition, Internet stores now offer more safe and flexible payment methods than ever before.
Only a few simple precautions are required to help ensure that your online shopping experience is a safe one:

  • Use a Secure Web Browser - They scramble or "encrypt" your purchase information so that only you and the vendor can read it. Many online stores now "sense" whether or not your browser is secure and will help you proceed accordingly. DO NOT ORDER from online stores that do not offer secured transactions. Most new computers come with secured browsers installed, or you can download them free over the Internet. [Download the latest Web browsers]
  • Keep Records - Most online stores will email you confirmation of your order. Print out and save these.
  • Check your credit card and bank statements - look for errors and purchases you did not make. If you find errors, call your credit card company or bank immediately.
  • Check the online store's policies - Look for disclosures about the Web site's security, refund and return policies, and statements about how the Web site will use your personal information. Look for links to "About" pages or "FAQ" pages. If a Web store says nothing about protecting your privacy, shop somewhere else.

Online and Off - Protect Your Identity

  • Never tell your password - to anybody, not even your Internet service provider. Other than to gain access, no legitimate service will ever ask you for your password. 
  • Watch what you download - Never download files, run programs or view graphics sent to you by strangers. Beware of clicking on URL "links" sent to you in email by people you do not know.
  • Most Important of All - Keep Your Personal Information Private! Unless you know the people asking and why they are asking for it, never tell anyone your address, telephone number, Social Security number, email address or passwords.

Article listed on About.com

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/consumerawareness/l/blonlineshopsaf.htm

 


INTERNET AUCTION FRAUD

Don't Let it Happen to You

These are just a few of the items offered for sale every day on legitimate online auction sites. They’re also just a small sample of the items used to lure unsuspecting victims into online auction fraud schemes.

Most of the one million-plus transactions that take place each day on these websites are legitimate; just a fraction actually result in some type of fraud.
But even that fraction adds up. According to the latest report of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), more than 70,000 complaints made to IC3 last year—about one in every four—involved online auction scams.

There are a variety of auction frauds, but here are some of the more common ones to watch out for:

  • Overpayment fraud targets the seller. A seller advertises a high-value item—like a car or a computer—on the Internet. A scammer contacts the seller to purchase the item, then sends the seller a counterfeit check or money order for an amount greater than the price of the item. The purchaser asks the seller to deposit the payment, deduct the actual sale price, and then return the difference to the purchaser.
  • Wire transfer schemes start with fraudulent and misleading ads for the sale of high-value items being posted on well-known online auction sites. When buyers take the bait, they are directed to wire money to the crooks using a money transfer company. Once the money changes hands, the buyer never hears from them again.
  • Second-chance schemes involve scammers who offer losing bidders of legitimate auctions the opportunity to buy the item(s) they wanted at reduced prices. They usually require that victims send payment through money transfer companies, but then don’t follow through on delivery.

And needless to say, in all of these schemes customers never get what they pay for.

Who is behind the scams. Mostly individuals. However, there are exceptions: criminal enterprises from West Africa are especially fond of the overpayment scams, while Romanian crime groups favor the second-chance schemes.
We’re working to address the problem. We’ve had a number of successful auction fraud investigations, worked collaboratively with other agencies, including one in Virginia and one in Texas.

What to do if you’ve been victimized. Go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Federal Trade Commission websites and submit a complaint. The more we know about the extent of the crime—including the specific methods being used to perpetrate it—the more effective we can be in preventing and investigating these scams. You can also report incidents to your local police and to auction companies.

So, how can you avoid being a victim of auction fraud? A few tips:

  • Ask the seller for a phone number and verify it.
  • Beware of buyers who insist on wire transfers as the only form of payment they’ll accept.
  • For big-ticket items, use a legitimate online escrow service that will hold the payment until you receive what you’ve ordered.
  • If you receive an overpayment as a seller, don't cash it but instead ask for the exact purchase price.
  • Don’t ever give out your social security or driver’s license number—a legitimate seller wouldn’t ask.
  • Be skeptical if the price sounds too low.

Article from: http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/june/auctionfraud_063009

 

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INTERNET PRIVACY

Go anywhere on the Internet and you are assured you are being followed, unless this is the first time you are on your computer.  Even then the chances of you doing any type of Web search will automatically begin the transaction of saving information into your computer and on your search site of everywhere you have been or will go on the Internet.

At times this can be nice.  You go to a site, find what you want, but a week later you realize you need to revisit the site.  Now where was it and how do I find it again?  This is where cookies on your computer come in handy.  These little bytes of information will tell you what you want to know by just going to the Internet and select “recent visits”.

On the other hand, many sites are selling information they gather on visitors to marketing companies.  If you regularly go to health and nutrition sites, you may begin to see these types of ads popping up any time you are on a site with ads.  Coincidence?  Not at all, you have been tracked as to where you are going on the Internet through your Internet server, your web search engine, etc.  Most of the time they are only collecting information so marketers can be guided to give you what you like and normally search for on the Internet.

To be sure you know you are on a safe site, look for the site’s privacy policy.  By law it must be clearly listed and a link at least should be found on the home page.  Read the Privacy statement on any website you intend to do business with.  Make sure they state if they are collecting data and if there is a way to opt out.  The Privacy Statement should give the full name of the owners of the site (company name) and contact information via email, phone and/or snail mail. 

A privacy policy is a disclosure document, whose purpose is to inform visitors. When it comes to consumer protection, the FTC and state attorneys general have jurisdiction, and even absent any other applicable laws about privacy the enforcers can and do sue and fine sites whose privacy policies are well-meaning but wrong.  So not only do you need to read the policy on the website, check for a statement that says they will not share any personal information with a third party.  It’s almost impossible to do this.  Anyone who collects data, even if you signed up for their newsletter, will undoubtedly use a database on a web server that will often be through a third party.  It’s not that they will do anything to lose customers by stealing the information; it’s just that you need to realize that very few sites don’t incorporate a third party to assist them with database set up and processing.

Article copyright © 2010-2013

Written by:  Helen Neal, Web Designer
http://www.hlnwebdesigns.com

 

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INTERNET TIPS FOR SENIORS

Surfing the Internet is fun and informative, but there are sites that can crash your computer and steal your information.  Here are some things to consider when you get on your computer:

  • Have you ever received an email from a friend that asks you to “check out this website for important information”?  Never click on a link to someplace you are not familiar with.  Call the friend and ask what is so important about the website?  You may be surprised to find out they never sent the email.  Many email viruses attach themselves to a person’s contacts address book and send their own email to everyone on your list!  You know nothing about it, but because it looks like it’s coming from you, people open it and get scammed or get a computer virus themselves. 
  • Or do you get email from companies or strangers that promise an exciting offer if you “click on the link below”?  Never trust a link sent to you by someone you don’t know. By clicking the link you may be taken to a site that may look like your bank or credit card company, but isn’t. One thing a criminal can’t fake is the actual website address of a company or bank. Instead of clicking a link in an e-mail, search for the Web address using a search engine to find the real one. Use that to ask the company about the message you received, or call using the number listed on your statements. Mark the real site as a favorite in your browser so that you can click on it and be safe when you want to go to that site.
  • Never trust an e-mail that asks for your personal or account information (called a phishing scam). These usually seem convincing (the shabby ones have spelling errors, but the high quality scams look impeccable). No bank or reputable company is going to send you an e-mail asking you to correct your information, validate your identity, re-enter your password, and so on.
  • The smarter scams often contain text warning you against fraud. They do this because many people believe that an e-mail that warns them to be careful must be legitimate. That is not always true. This also extends to sites that claim they have protections in place for your privacy and security. Anybody can make these claims, but only certain sites protect you.
  • Never respond – or even open an e-mail with a deal that is too good to be true unless it is from a company that you know well and expect to get these kinds of offers from them.  Scammers want you to react without taking time to think things through, so their e-mails frequently sound urgent, such as:
    •  …“if we don’t hear by tomorrow your account will be closed” (and you’ll notice that the date of “tomorrow” never is listed).
    • …”this offer won’t last, order now to ensure”…
  • Never believe that someone you don’t know is going to give you money.
  • Do not believe a person from another country who asks you to “help transfer funds” by giving them your bank account number to do so. Such scammers promise to give you a huge amount of money for helping them out.  The result is an empty bank account for you.
  • If you never entered a lottery, you did not win the lottery. Such scams ask you to provide your information and bank account number so they can transfer your prize money. Don’t do it. The result is an empty bank account.
  • Don’t believe a really rich, famous person just wants to help you out… and that the celebrity also mysteriously needs your address, phone number, bank account information to do so. The result is an empty bank account.
  • Guard your information well. It is better to be rude than to be ripped off, so demand validation, verification, and authentication before giving your information to anyone. If you still feel uneasy, say no or check further.

http://www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafety/Seniors.aspx

 

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PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY ONLINE

Protect your privacy and avoid identity theft.

Cyber security, phishing, worms, firewalls, Trojan horses, hackers, and viruses seem to be in the news every day. Plus warnings to update your virus protection, watch out for online scams, protect your privacy, and watch what you click on are everywhere. But what does it all mean? And what can you do to safeguard access to your computer and to protect yourself and your family? What is this all about?

The first step in protecting yourself is to recognize the risks and become familiar with some of the terminology associated with cyber security. The Department of Homeland Security created this list of terms: Hacker, attacker, or intruder - These terms are applied to the people who seek to exploit weaknesses in software and computer systems for their own gain. Although their intentions are sometimes fairly benign and motivated solely by curiosity, their actions are typically in violation of the intended use of the systems they are exploiting. The results can range from mere mischief (creating a virus with no intentionally negative impact) to malicious (stealing or altering information).

Malicious code includes code such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Although some people use these terms interchangeably, they have unique characteristics:

  • Viruses - This type of malicious code requires you to actually do something before it infects your computer. This action could be opening an email attachment or going to a particular web page.
  • Worms - Worms propagate without you r doing anything. They typically start by exploiting a software vulnerability (a flaw that allows the software's intended security policy to be violated). Then once the victim computer has been infected, the worm will attempt to find and infect other computers. Similar to viruses, worms can propagate via email, web sites, or network-based software. The automated self-propagation of worms distinguishes them from viruses.
  • Trojan horses - A Trojan horse program is software that claims to do one thing while, in fact, doing something different behind the scenes. For example, a program that claims it will speed up your computer may actually be sending your confidential information to an intruder.
  • Spyware - This sneaky software rides its way onto computers when you download screensavers, games, music, and other applications. Spyware sends information about what you're doing on the Internet to a third-party, usually to target you with pop-up ads. Browsers enable you to block pop-ups. You can also install anti-spyware to stop this threat to your privacy.

Minimize the Access Other People Have to Your Information

It is probably easy for you to identify people who could gain physical access to your computer—family members, roommates, co-workers, members of a cleaning crew, and maybe some others. But identifying the people who could gain remote access to your computer becomes much more difficult. As long as you have a computer and connect it to a network or the internet, you are vulnerable to someone or something else accessing or corrupting your information. Luckily, you can develop habits that make it more difficult.

  • Lock or log-off your computer when you are away from it. This prevents another person from waiting for you to leave and then sitting down at your computer and accessing all of your information.
  • To be really secure, disconnect your computer from the Internet when you aren't using it. DSL and cable modems make it possible for users to be online all the time, but this convenience comes with risks. The likelihood that attackers or viruses scanning the network for available computers will target your computer becomes much higher if your computer is always connected.
  • Evaluate your security settings. It is important to examine your computer's settings, especially the security settings, and select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk. Many, but not all Internet providers offer free security software. If you don't receive free software, you should consider buying a commercial product that includes virus scan, firewall, and pop-up blockers. You should also be aware of your Internet cookies setting. Cookies are short pieces of data used by web servers to identify users. Some cookies are useful for storing images and data from websites that you frequent, but others are malicious and collect information about you. You'll have to decide how much risk from cookies you can accept. Finally, if you install a patch or a new version of software, or if you hear of something that might affect your settings, reevaluate your settings to make sure they are still appropriate.
  • Look for a privacy policy statement or seal that indicates the site abides by privacy standards. Take time to read how your privacy is protected.
  • Look for signals that you are using a secure web page. A secure site encrypts or scrambles personal information so it cannot be easily intercepted. Signals include a screen notice that says you are on a secure site, a closed lock or unbroken key in the bottom corner of your screen, or the first letters of the Internet address you are viewing changes from "http" to "https."

Do You Think You are a Victim?

  • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account.
  • Check your credit reports for unusual activity.
  • Report your situation to local police, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.

Article Printed with permission from USA.gov
http://www.usa.gov/topics/family/privacy-protection/online.shtml

 


SHOPPING SAFELY ONLINE

Shopping online offers lots of benefits you won't find shopping in traditional stores. The worldwide stores of the Internet never close. You can order tulip bulbs directly from Holland, exotic spices from Turkey or handwoven wall hangings from Mexico or Morocco -- anytime 365-days a year. Taking advantage of their low overhead, Internet vendors often offer highly discounted prices. Savings can be substantial. In addition, Internet stores now offer more safe and flexible payment methods than ever before.
Only a few simple precautions are required to help ensure that your online shopping experience is a safe one:

  • Use a Secure Web Browser - They scramble or "encrypt" your purchase information so that only you and the vendor can read it. Many online stores now "sense" whether or not your browser is secure and will help you proceed accordingly. DO NOT ORDER from online stores that do not offer secured transactions. Most new computers come with secured browsers installed, or you can download them free over the Internet. [Download the latest Web browsers]
  • Keep Records - Most online stores will email you confirmation of your order. Print out and save these.
  • Check your credit card and bank statements - look for errors and purchases you did not make. If you find errors, call your credit card company or bank immediately.
  • Check the online store's policies - Look for disclosures about the Web site's security, refund and return policies, and statements about how the Web site will use your personal information. Look for links to "About" pages or "FAQ" pages. If a Web store says nothing about protecting your privacy, shop somewhere else.

Online and Off - Protect Your Identity

  • Never tell your password - to anybody, not even your Internet service provider. Other than to gain access, no legitimate service will ever ask you for your password. 
  • Watch what you download - Never download files, run programs or view graphics sent to you by strangers. Beware of clicking on URL "links" sent to you in email by people you do not know.
  • Most Important of All - Keep Your Personal Information Private! Unless you know the people asking and why they are asking for it, never tell anyone your address, telephone number, Social Security number, email address or passwords.

 

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TOP ONLINE SAFETY TIPS

From the office watercooler and the evening news there is a lot of discussion and information about how to keep teens safe online, but there isn't much discussion about how to keep adults safe. The consensus may be that because someone is an adult, they already know how to stay safe online. Adults can be just as vulnerable as kids, especially those who are not accustomed to online networking.

Don't Reveal Too Much
Many problems arise when you give out too much information on social network sites.  Remember unless your page is locked down, anyone can view it, including hackers.  It is best to not use your own name, or at least not your real last name.  Try not to divulge where you live, be vague.  If you can add just “northwest” or “southeast” instead of a city & state, then follow it with U.S. or EU or whatever continent you live on.

Be on Guard
Always keep in mind that personal information, comments and photos that you post on your personal profile are viewable by the public even if your profile is limited to your circle of friends. Someone in your network could share your webpage address or contact information with people you don’t know and those people could share the information with their friends and so on.

It is never wise to meet someone you “know” from the Internet at a local place alone.  If you want to meet someone you met on the Internet, be sure to bring friends and meet in a very busy place.  Try meeting somewhere in another city other than yours, but within driving distance.  If they don’t know your last name, they will only have the state where you live. 

 


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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances. Last Revised: 4/14