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The Internet is a whole new arena for scammers to get access to and take advantage of your personal information, steal your money or target you. We want to help you be a smart and savvy Internet user and avoid putting yourself at risk online.

Don’t click on links or open email attachments unless you know who the sender is.

Be very cautious about clicking links or attachments from an email, unless you know for sure that the sender is legitimate. The same goes for email attachments. Clicking a link or opening an attachment may seem innocent, but scammers can embed viruses into those to infect your computer or steal your personal information.

Use strong passwords.

There are a lot of programs that online scammers can use to guess your password. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your password is secure and not easy to guess. Some important things to include in your password are: capital letters, numbers and symbols. Also, it’s helpful to not include information that could be easily guessed, such as your birth year or sequential numbers (i.e. 123).

Don’t click pop-up ads.

A common online scam is Internet pop-up ads that alert you that your computer has a virus or that you need to update your computer. Ironically, clicking these pop-ups could actually give you a virus or allow scammers to have access to your computer. If any ads pop-up while you are surfing the web, the best course of action is to close the window and use a reputable anti-virus software, such as Norton AntiVirus.

Don’t give out personal information to anyone unless you know who they are.

If your bank or an online subscription service emails or calls and asks for personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account information or social security numbers, be wary. Ensure that this is legitimate by calling them or going directly to their website to update your account.

Be observant when surfing the web.

Just because a website looks legitimate, does not mean that it is. Online scammers can recreate logos, graphics and other details on a website to make it look like the real thing. As we mentioned earlier, don’t click links in emails, if you are not sure that they are legitimate. The best way to know that you are on the correct website is to double check the web address to make sure that it is correct. You can also check the website’s connection type. If it has “https://” before the web address, then it is likely a more secure site.

Don’t overshare on social media.

Some scammers will use information that they find on social media to make themselves sound like a friend or family member or they can use personal information to blackmail you. Make sure that your privacy settings are set up so that only people that you are friends with can see your posts and personal information. Also, consider the content that you are sharing online. Besides the obvious sensitive information, we also suggest refraining from sharing information such as your full birthdate, home address or phone number. Sharing any of this information could put you at risk for identity theft.