An article from Texas AARP addressed some basic concerns for using the Internet. Just as there are thieves in the “real world”, scammers lurk online trying to steal your money and/or identity.
Following are some basic, easy precautions to take to help you stay safe online. Make sure that you have antivirus installed. There are free antivirus programs available that are as good or better than the paid services.
Only allow files to download and programs to install if you understand what they are. If you did not tell a program to upgrade or install, don’t let it.
Don’t open messages from unknown sources. The Nigerian scam email is responsible for millions of dollars in fraud in the United States each year. Anyone asking for your banking information via email is suspect, including your own bank. Confirm by calling the bank to ensure it is a legitimate request.
Don’t share personal information or passwords. Don’t write passwords down. When creating a password, use upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters with 8-10 characters in length. Don’t use birthdays, children or pet names, or anything else that could easily be guessed or may appear in a dictionary.
Before leaving a website, be sure to log out. For added security, close the browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.). Before posting photos online, consider that strangers can see them. You may not want to advertise where you live, work, etc.
When making purchases online, look for “https” in your browser’s address bar. This means the site has a secure connection. Be sure to regularly your check credit card statements for unauthorized charges. Use a reputable source for verifying information, like aarp.org, and stay safe online!
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