Protecting Yourself Online

Some reports estimate that adults use the internet as much as 3 hours per day.  According to www.ikeepsafe.org, kids ages 8-18 are spending as much as 44.5 hours per week in front of a screen (whether it’s television, computer, or phones).  Identity thieves and other unsavory characters love to lurk on the internet, taking opportunities to strike unsuspecting people.  We want you to be safe and keep your kids safe during screen and internet time.

 

These are just a few helpful tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Store your laptop, tablets and smart phones in a secure place.  Change your passwords often and never store your passwords on websites.  Keep virus and malware protection up to date.
  • Download and keep up to date security patches that are released for your operating system and internet browser.
  • When ordering online, ensure that the site offers payment through a secured site.  Do not ever give credit card or PII over an unsecure site.
  • Do not use predictable passwords.  Even though a security question asks you for your mother’s name, you may answer with another word that no one else will know.
  • Update passwords every 90 days.  Never share them with anyone!
  • Avoid phishing scams by never filling out pop ups on your computer asking for personal identifying information.
  • Turn off the preview pane in email software, as this immediately opens an email.  Viruses may be able to attack your computer as soon as the message is opened. 
  • When opening e-mailed attachments, make sure they are coming from a source you trust.
  • Do not reply or click through any text messages you may receive asking for personal identifying information. 
  • Keep tabs on which sites your child visits and what they post to social media.
  • When using social media, don’t accept friend requests or requests to connect with people that are deceased or that you do not know.
  • Be cautious of posting to social networking sites.  Do not post daily “updates” and give “locations” when you are out of town. 
  • Never share your location on apps and websites unless absolutely necessary.
  • Remember, if something seems “fishy”, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Other sites that are helpful resources:

 

Identity Theft Resource Center/Prevention & Survival:  www.idtheftcenter.org

FDIC:  Identity Theft:  www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/theft.html

Better Business Bureau:  www.bbbonline.org/

Tips for parents and educators according to California’s student privacy laws:  www.ikeepsafe.org

Stay Safe Online:  www.staysafeonline.org

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