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Internet security

Using social media, shopping online, using email, or surfing the Internet shouldn't leave you vulnerable to virus attacks, identity theft, or other security breaches. That’s why it's important to educate yourself on these security threats and how to protect yourself.

Viruses, Worms and Spyware

Computer worms, viruses, spyware and other malicious programs can destroy or steal data and personal information. Without your knowledge, hackers can use viruses to harvest your personal information, steal your money, credit and identity.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Protect your computers from harmful programs by keeping your antivirus software up-to-date
  • Install security patches and updates as recommended by your operating system (Windows or MacOS) and other software vendors

Identity theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number or other confidential information to open new accounts, make purchases or get a tax refund. This can occur by way of a phone call or an email from an allegedly legitimate business or individual. It might even happen when someone searches your trash for mail containing personal information and credit card receipts.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Closely guard all personal information
  • If you are not absolutely certain you know the person or business you're talking to, be suspicious, ask questions and request callback information
  • Shred all documents, credit cards and applications before placing them in the trash
  • Check your credit annually through a reputable credit bureau

Phishing

Phishing emails are made to look as though they are from a legitimate company. The email may tell you that some sort of service normally provided to you is due to expire soon. The email directs you to a phony website and asks you to provide personal information such as a credit card or Social Security number so that your service can be continued.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Check for misspelled words in the email and closely examine the return address
  • If you never pre-enrolled with the company to do business via email, be suspicious
  • Contact the company you normally do business with and ask them to verify the request
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