4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Online Fraud

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You earned your money. The last thing you want is for some criminal to steal it. Unfortunately, internet scams are a part of life today. To protect yourself and your bank account, you need to stay informed. Here are four tips to protect yourself from online fraud.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

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Consumers are naïve about the dangers of public Wi-Fi. Clever hackers have ways of distributing malware via these networks. Even though you’ve done nothing wrong, you run the risk of a compromised computer each time you access a public network.

How dangerous is the threat? Hackers don’t even need authentication to access public Wi-Fi. Once they’re online, all they need to do is create a gap between your computer and the Wi-Fi network, one that they control. It’s child’s play for most hackers, meaning that a lot of strangers can crack your system when you use a public network.

Use Complex Passwords

Many computer users choose basic passwords. According to Keeper Security, the two most popular passwords in usage today are 123456 and 123456789. Other popular selections are 123123 and password. Hackers salivate at the thought of you using such easy access words.

To protect yourself, you should choose a complex password. If you’re worried that you might forget it, remember that lots of password manager software is available for free online. You can select something with lots of numbers, letters, and special characters, preferably using uppercase and lowercase letters. Each unique character or number you add to your password increases its complexity, thereby reducing the changes of a criminal hacking you. Instead, he or she will move along to someone with an easy password. It’s the online equivalent of putting multiple locks on your door.

Shred Your Gear

Inevitably, you’ll change computers and smart devices. When you replace them, remember to remove all your personal information from your old hardware before getting rid of it. Criminals frequent places like dumps and used computer shops. They do so because they know few consumers actually eliminate their data from their system.

Even if you’re aware of the need to sanitize your hardware before getting rid of it, you should research the best practices. Some analysts believe the only way to eliminate everything from a hard drive is to put a drill through it. Others suggest sticking it in the microwave, an extreme choice. Your only priority in shredding your gear is to make certain your hard drive is inaccessible.

Research Scams

One of the best ways to safeguard yourself from hackers is by using the internet. The key to avoiding scams is having the awareness of what the criminal is trying to accomplish. Follow sites such as Consumer Reports and Consumerist to learn about the latest criminal attempts to infiltrate your computer. Should a person call you and pretend that he or she is from your computer’s tech support department, you can hang up with confidence, knowing that it’s a con.

Protecting yourself from online fraud is easy once you understand your vulnerabilities. Simply follow the four tips above to secure your data and make certain that hackers can’t get to you.

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