Apple Pay, Paypal, Ebates. These are just a few examples of how finances have merged with cyberspace. We encounter these services on a daily basis; and some of us use them frequently to purchase items online or even during a quick trip to the grocery store However, with this convenience comes safety risks.
But don’t swear off of your digital wallet just yet, follow these tips to keep your finances safe.
Website Builder Expert conducted research on Cybercrime in the United States, gathering data from the FBI Internet Crime Report and the Insurance Information Institute over a period of eight years. They found that Michigan has the second highest average yearly growth in the number of reported cyber crimes, and that Michiganders are estimated to file the most cybercrime complaints this year, at 201.89 per 100,000 people.
As scary as this sounds, we are not completely helpless to cyber-criminals.
1. Stop, Look, and Decide.
When we were young, our parents and teachers taught us to stop, think, and decide if a decision you were going to make was right or wrong. There should be no exception when it comes to the internet.
Hyperlinking is a common way that cyber-criminals can gain access into your computer. Hyperlinking occurs when someone attaches a link to a word, phrase or an image that leads the user to another page or document. This is a heavily utilized tool in phishing attacks when cyber-criminals pose as legitimate companies (like Amazon, Netflix, or Facebook for instance) and ask you to enter in your personal information. This is most often done through email.
Thankfully, there are ways to work around phishing attacks. Going straight to the site instead of clicking on the link provided in the email is one way to gather more information. Look carefully at the domain name and check for any misspellings or strange additions like “validate-info.com” or “login123.com”. Ask yourself if you receive emails from this company often, and follow your gut; if it feels weird, it most likely is phishing.
2. Keep your shopping limited.
Online shopping can be extraordinarily easy and convenient. But the more sites you go to, the more likely you are to click on something phishy (haha). Keep your shopping limited to secure, safe vendors so that you lower your risk of getting hacked. If you can find better deals in store, take the extra effort to drive to the store and pick up your item. This is the most certain way to ensure that your purchases are safe and real.
3. What’s yours is yours.
Financial information is extremely important, and should be treated as such. Always log out of any online banking tool to ensure your information is safe. Genisys Credit Union’s online banking feature has layers of passwords and questions to ensure your safety, but to guarantee maximum security, create unique, strong passwords that only you can remember. And always keep in mind to be careful what you tell others as far as finances are concerned. In other words, don’t post a picture of you and your new Genisys Rewards Credit Card on social media, no matter how exciting it may be.
4. Antivirus Software
In this day and age, with as many viruses, cybercriminals, and scammers as there are in the wild wild west of cyberspace, investing in an antivirus system may not be a bad idea. Sites such as PC Magazine, AV-Comparatives, and AV-Test are good guides to start your search for dependable antivirus software. With your antivirus in place, you will have a little more peace of mind as you search through an unpredictable internet.
With these helpful tips, you can surf the internet with security and self-confidence.
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