Safely Browsing the Internet
Internet safety can be deceiving. Computer viruses, phishing scams, and identify theft most likely will never be eliminated. Seemingly reputable sites may contain spyware traps, or the sites themselves may be counterfeit. Examples include:
- Internet thieves stealing your credit card information.
- Hackers and on-line predators that use phishing scams, spam email or instant messages and bogus Web sites to deliver spyware to your computer and compromise your computer security.
- Criminals that exploit consumers' credit worthiness to commit loan fraud, mortgage fraud, lines-of-credit fraud, credit card fraud, commodities and services frauds.
- Pop-up ads which are capable of installing spyware to hijack your browser and capture your personal information.
- Phishing sites posing as the real thing to lure you into their scams and debacles.
Preventing Identity Theft
Spyware used for identity theft can be the most harmful and difficult to remove of any type of spyware. There are a few things you can do right away to protect yourself:
- Continually check the accuracy of personal documents and deal with any discrepancies right away.
- Practice safe email protocol:
- Don't open messages from unknown senders.
- Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam.
- Avoid free software.
- Get the latest Windows® patches.
- Use public computers with extreme caution.
- Beware of peer-to-peer file sharing services.
- Use anti-virus protection and a firewall.
- Get anti-spyware software protection.
Making sure you follow these general practices is your first line of defense for staying safe while you are connected to the internet.
- Avoid questionable webites.
- Avoid free software and file-sharing applications.
- Increase your browser security settings to a medium or high level.
- Type in a trusted URL for a company's site into the address bar of your browser to bypass links in an email or instant message.
- Avoid clicking on pop-ups, even to close them. Instead, close pop-ups from the system tray area with a right mouse click.