Don’t become a victim of email or telephone fraud by staying informed of what you can do to prevent it. Alert children and elderly family members of what to look out for. Teach children about the potential dangers of the internet. Talk to elderly parents and relatives about current scams going around so they can stay vigilant. These scams can pull on the heart strings of the elderly; these predators are skilled at getting trusting elderly to send money for fictious reasons.
Individuals, families and consumers must stay watchful and alert.
Excess robo-calls and solicitors can fill up voice mail and answering machine space. Screen calls with caller ID. In most cases, it is good idea to ignore unknown callers. Even with caller ID still be prudent to insure caller intentions; scam artists can be persistent. Ask for information and when in doubt, just hang up.
Do not click on any email links that look suspicious. The saying- “Better safe than sorry” does apply! Be suspicious of emails with obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes. Be suspicious of emails or text messages asking you to validate your log-in credentials or other confidential information. Do not reply, click on links or open attachments from emails or texts unless you recognize the sender’s email address as legitimate and know the content is safe. Email “From:” addresses can be easily forged, so even be suspicious of unexpected messages from those you do know.
Understand that no website is 100% secure, 100% of the time. A legitimate long-standing website can become compromised. We frequently see these instances on the news.
Do you know what these terms mean?
Cyber-This word means relating to computers, information technology or the digital, virtual world.
Cyber-attack-An attempt by hackers or wrong-doers to damage or destroy a computer network or system.
Cyber stalking-Persistent and targeted trailing and harassment from someone online, most often via email and/or social media.
Fraud-This is basically wrongful or criminal deception and dishonesty intended to result in financial or personal gain.
Identity theft-This is when someone takes some piece of your personal information and uses it without your knowledge and consent to commit fraud or theft.
Malware-Malicious software including viruses, and spyware.
Phishing-A process used to gain sensitive information usually done through email.
Sensitive information-Information that includes confidential information such as email address, credit and debit card details, user name, password, address, phone number, birth date, Medicare number, social security number etc.
Social networking websites-Websites that allow people to keep in touch with family and friends but may inadvertently share personal information about themselves and others with individuals that don’t have the best intentions.
Spam-This is unwanted email.
Spyware-A type of malware designed to steal confidential and/or sensitive information.
Unauthorized access-This is when an individual gains access to a website, email account, credit card account, server or service using someone else’s account or other methods.
When shopping on the internet be cautious when entering in payment information. Make sure the site is secure. Do not store passwords or payment information. It takes longer to enter payment information each time you make a purchase for you or your family, but it allows for greater security.
Keep your laptop, iPad and/or cell phone with you always. You don’t want your devices and/or access to your personal information to fall into the wrong hands. Use a passcode to lock your cell phone and other devices. It can take a long, long time to correct identity theft issues or resolve a scam.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
UF/IFAS Extension Broward County http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/broward/family-and-consumer-sciences/
UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Blog articles https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/browardco/
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Information, Identity Theft https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Information, Limiting Unwanted Calls & Emails
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Information, Scams