With the recent news that several popular websites have been hacked, we thought it was a good time to remind you what you can do to keep your personal information safe online.
It all starts with creating safe and secure online passwords. Our Consumer Action Handbook offers several tips to help you create strong passwords.
- As tempting as it can be, don’t use the same password across multiple websites. If one website gets hacked, the hackers would then be able to access your information on other sites.
- Change your passwords from time to time.
- Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- The longer password, the better it is.
- Don’t use your name, birthday, license plate, favorite sports teams or other facts that are easily guessed.
- Create a password based on a phrase. For example “A stitch in time saves nine” can be translated into the password “Ast!Ts9”. where each character represents a word in the phrase.
- If you must use the same password on several websites, add a prefix or suffix. For example, use “Ast!Ts9:4bnk”for your bank account and “Eml: Ast!Ts9” for your email account.
Find more information about keeping your personal information safe online.
The FBI identified a new phishing scam online that targets your bank accounts. The scam is called “Gameover.” Once the virus is on your computer, it can steal all of your user names and passwords before you realize what has happened.
How It Works
The Gameover scam will email you, pretending to be from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the Federal Reserve Bank, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The email will say that there has been a problem with your bank account or a recent transaction, and will include a link to help fix the problem. The link will send you to a phony site, where the Gameover malware is automatically installed on your computer and starts stealing your bank account information.
If you think you’ve been victimized by this type of scheme, contact your financial institution to report it, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Learn more about the Gameover Scam.
Do your teens know friend from foe when they’re online? This game will test their knowledge about online friends.
Over the weekend, thousands of people learned that their email addresses had been compromised as the result of an unauthorized entry into the systems of Epsilon Interactive, an email service provider.
If you received one of the alerts, you should be extra vigilant about the kind of emails you receive and which ones you choose to open or answer.
Because of this security breach, you may be at an increased risk of phishing scams, where you receive a message that tries to trick you into supplying personal or financial information.
The Federal Trade Commission provides the following tips to protect yourself from phishing scams:
- Don’t reply to email or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information, and don’t click on links in the message. Don’t cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser — phishers can make links look like they go one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
- Some scammers send an email that appears to be from a legitimate business and ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a “refund.” If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
- Don’t email personal or financial information.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email.
- If you’ve been scammed, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft.
Learn more about how to identify and protect yourself from phishing scams from the Federal Trade Commission.